Like Breweries, Distributors Take Steps to Save Energy
In late October, Manhattan Beer Distributors, which represents craft brands across the US, added 35 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles to its fleet. The new trucks have a lower carbon output and can haul the same amount of product in fewer trips. Since beginning its ongoing conservation effort in 2002, Manhattan has added more than 75 CNG trucks, built three private CNG fueling stations, installed solar panels on the roof of its Bronx headquarters, and now receives two-thirds of its shipments by rail.
Establishing a focus on sustainability makes distributors more attractive partners for breweries founded on environmentally friendly values. “Many of our supplier partners place the same emphasis on environmental stewardship and appreciate that their products are stored and delivered sustainably,” says Jacob Benton, business development manager at Jacksonville, Fla., distributor Champion Brands. “This shared passion for sustainability allows us to align the cultures of many individual brands with our own.” Champion represents 120 local, regional and national breweries, many of which are known for their environmental practices, like New Belgium, a certified B-corporation, and Brooklyn Brewery, which uses wind and solar power.
After working to pass Florida legislation that incentivizes natural fuel conversion in 2013, Champion Brands’ fleet of more than 60 trucks now includes 20 CNG-powered vehicles. The company intends to be 100 percent CNG-fueled by 2020. Other efforts include building the first public access CNG fuel station, and plans for the first large-scale commercial solar power plant in Northeast Florida. ■