Budweiser's New Green Beer
March 14th, 2022
By: Payton-luv Stine
Pinch me! I’m Irish…or is it kiss me?
St. Patrick’s Day was once a religious and cultural tribute to St. Patrick in the 18th century, apparently, he was the patron saint who “liked a drink.” This celebration was three days of feasting. It is now an excuse to wear green, drink unfathomable amounts of booze, oftentimes dyed green, dye rivers, host parties, and end up drunk before sunset. Apparently, concern for the sanctity of the holiday dates back hundreds of years as it seems to have been an excuse to drink, to break lent, and to throw parties almost since it began. If you’ve ever spent a St. Patrick’s day in New York City, you know it’s just as bad as SantaCon, except now everyone’s lips are stained green from horribly dyed lukewarm brews.
Bars, pubs, clubs, and organizations host performances, have special menu items, give out horrible headbands and face stickers and celebrate that good old “Irish Spirit” in us all, meaning the ability to drink…seemingly forever. Dunkin Donut’s turns their donuts green. Beer companies all over release special edition green beer. Chicago dyes its river green!
The latest trend, however, is not as simple as adding green food dye to your favorite beers. In 2021, Budweiser decided to go “green” in a new way, renewable energy credits. Renewable energy credits are “ a certificate corresponding to the environmental attributes of energy produced from renewable sources such as wind or solar. RECs were created as a means to track progress towards and compliance with states' Renewable Portfolio Standards, meant to support a cleaner generation mix.” In simpler terms, buying a renewable energy credit equivalent to an amount of electricity is a net-zero move, like planting a tree for every one you cut down. On Saint Patricks Day of 2021, Budweiser purchased renewable energy credits “equivalent to the amount of electricity used to brew every beer in the United States in a single day.” That’s a big number.
In the beer world, Budweiser is already ahead of the industry, producing all of its products with 100% renewable (wind) energy, a noteworthy feat. This Saint Patrick’s Day stunt was designed to bring awareness to an industry that is highly energy-intensive that often gets swept under the rug when we talk about sustainability initiatives and holding companies accountable. The RE100 initiative is one striving to ensure that all US beer companies are producing 100% renewable energy by 2030. Budweiser calls it the “Green Electricity Beer Bar.” While this is all very “green” of Budweiser let’s not forget that Budweiser is simply one subsidiary of Anheuser Busch, which operates more than 600 beer brands globally. Anheuser Busch does claim to be committed to diving deep into their supply chain for improvements regarding sustainability and labor laws, as well as joining RE100, and setting an array of 2025 sustainability goals focused on renewable energy, water usage, packaging, and regenerative agriculture.
While Budweiser may have lots of room to grow, and Anheuser Busch has lots of room to grow, this initiative began to set a precedent in the beer industry. They used an opportunity usually captured by tacky literally green beer, and highly discounted products and turned it into an opportunity to talk about something important. This play on words worked perfectly and picked up a lot of traction in the sustainability world. It also put pressure on other beer brands and named Budweiser and Anheuser Busch as leaders in the sustainability front for their industry. Green beer is no longer a cheap (and gross) tradition meant for young drinkers on Saint Patrick’s day. It is an initiative with a purpose.
About the Author:
Payton-Luv Stine is one of the Spring 2021 Co-Content Directors. She is a senior at NYU Stern studying Marketing and Sustainable Business and minoring in Animal Studies.