Craft brewing is an industry that is feel-good in more ways than one. Boasting more than $8.7 billion in total retail sales in 2011 from the nearly 2000 American craft breweries (the highest total since the 1880s, per the Brewers Association), the craft brewing industry proves that it is serious business. By creating a collaborative culture that emphasizes high quality products, the craft brewing world serves up powerful lessons.
Lesson 1: Find your passion
Placing an emphasis on the “craft” in craft beer creates a culture of excellence. People are drawn to the craft beer world by their dreams, passion, and love of good beer. And the fact that it’s really fun. Currently the craft beer industry provides an estimated 103,585 US jobs.
We had the unique opportunity to sit down and share a beer at the 29th annual Craft Brewers Conference with craft beer all-stars including Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Bison Organic Beer, and more. With each new industry professional we met, and every brew we enjoyed, it came as no surprise that our appreciation for beer deepened. These candid conversations helped us develop a clearer picture of the integral role sustainability plays in the beer industry. And that made us pretty happy about our choice in adult beverages.
We learned that you can gain more than just money by collaborating with your industry peers, that breweries (on the whole) are important community stewards, and there are a number of different ways a business can view its commitment to sustainability.
There is a growing public expectation that companies should give back to their communities in an authentic, meaningful way. Companies are taking notice and creating programs to address these demands.
The positive return for adopting a robust corporate responsibility program is resounding,as evidenced by the reception for Panera Bread’s Community Café program, (whose founder Ronald Shaich received a standing ovation for his presentation at Sustainable Brands ’11). These programs attract and retain talent, create partnerships with non-profits and provide avenues for aligning the mission and values of the company with the community.
“More corporations are already making CSR strategies part of their overall business and core competencies. They can actually maximize the return on their investments and make the greatest positive societal impact by integrating community engagement and employee volunteer programs within these efforts,” says Kellie McElhaney, Executive Director of the Center for Responsible Business at Haas School of Business (via Volunteer Match).