Posts Tagged ‘business’

posted by | on , , , , | Comments Off on The Benefits of Local Brew

blog-nov09

This blog post highlights the benefits of a sustainable local brewery.  DC EcoWomen does not endorse any particular organization but does serve as a resource to communicate sustainable efforts made by all.

By Megan Devlin

Across industries, the consumer trends are clear: people want local. In response to market demands, many companies are shifting business strategy in an effort to be more sustainable and to optimize community impact. While the beer industry isn’t necessarily known for its sustainable practices, a majority of craft breweries keep up with localization by focusing on their regional markets.

Some of the big players like New Belgium and Sierra Nevada have expanded beyond their flagships and opened brew sites in new markets across the country. Smaller outfits have rooted deeper in their communities — with the female-owned Denizens Brewing Co. in Silver Spring, Md., owning that through business as usual.

Denizens cofounders Emily Bruno and Julie Verratti deliver on this region’s demand for hyper-local, fresh beer by brewing three times per week only 75 feet below the taproom.

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Since opening in 2014, Denizens has worked to foster a taproom culture where customers get to know the brewers, owners and staff in a great social atmosphere to drink fresh beer. Denizens draft lineup includes five flagship beers plus five rotating seasonals. While the beers are produced in house, they reflect a global palate, with styles ranging from a Czech-inspired Pilsner to an English extra special bitter (ESB) to a tequila barrel-aged “petit” sour ale influenced by head brewer Jeff Ramirez’s earlier days crafting in Colorado.

The diversity of flavors, aromas and ingredients on the 10-beer menu creates opportunities for pairings with seasonal food items. Traditional pub fare like the burger and fries often pair well with the Born Bohemian Pilsner, while this summer’s spicy mango salad could be accented with the Southside Rye IPA or played down with maltier styles like the Lowest Lord English-Style ESB.

While the kitchen menu is seasonal not all of the products are locally sourced, a common practice that businesses implement to go “green.” Breweries moving in sustainable directions typically focus on partnering with local farmers for beer ingredients or by bringing production in-house, which is a more costly endeavor. Rogue Ales and Stone Brewing Co. have kept costs low by purchasing and leasing farmland, which in turn helps guarantee local farmers business or create agricultural jobs.

Smaller breweries don’t always have the financial resources to locally source beer ingredients like hops, which often require an advanced contract of two to three years and are grown best in regions like the Pacific Northwest, Europe and New Zealand. Despite these challenges, establishments operating under the brewpub model, where beer and food are produced in house, have more flexibility with local sourcing.

Denizens works exclusively with regional vendors for its kitchen items to further drive sustainable business relationships. Because the brewery doesn’t have a freezer on site, its Baltimore-based meat provider and local produce providers help ensure menu freshness.

To minimize waste in beer production, Denizens repurposes some of the grain used in the brewing process for the kitchen’s tomato spent grain toast, topped with pesto, mozzarella and a balsamic reduction. The rest is donated to a Maryland farmer who feeds the grain to his pigs.

Keeping its focus on the community, Denizens partners with the University of Maryland’s Graduate School of Fermentation, which grows a variety of yeast used for the brews: two sour/wilds, two for saison and hefeweizens as well as 3 different bacterias. The relationship is a win-win in that the graduate students get to work with commercial products while Denizens keeps costs low.

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Denizens community-oriented business approach also dovetails with their distribution strategy. Thanks to laws passed in both Maryland and DC, Denizens can self-distribute in Montgomery County and DC, whose border is just three blocks from the brewery. The further beer travels, the more expensive it is to distribute in terms of time, energy and labor.

Self-distributing breweries not only keep more revenue than breweries that go through a distributor, but the ripple effects of minimizing beer miles traveled include local economic growth, lower carbon footprinting and quality control.

“We know exactly where the beer has been at every step of the way,” Verratti said.

Denizens is conscious in identifying bars, restaurants and stores that carry local, independent alcoholic beverages. The neighborhood is also important. Republic in Takoma Park, located less than a mile from the taproom, serves as a perfect example of Denizens “trifecta,” which includes brand affiliation, efficiency, and the volume and speed of beer consumption.

“Our customers are their customers and their customers are our customers,” said Verratti.

Bruno said partnerships like the one with Republic helps Denizens carve its identity as a local brand.

“We want to expand our footprint in targeted ways,” Bruno said. “We’re not trying to be the Budweiser of craft beer.”

As the duo puts their heads together on how to sustainably scale their business, they also keep a pulse on what’s in front of them: beer and community. Over Halloween weekend, Denizens re-released Fear of a Black Beer, a coffee-infused blonde ale, in part to coincide with the brewery’s participation in this year’s annual Silver Spring Zombie Walk, which gathered nearly 700 zombie-clad humans on October 29 for a walk from Denizens to the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center for horror-film watching, ending the festivities at Quarry House Tavern.

“We try to do things to make ourselves really entrenched in the community.”

Megan Devlin is a Program Coordinator of Global Forums at Meridian International Center and was most recently the Editorial Assistant to The Atlantic’s Washington Editor at Large and Editor in Chief of AtlanticLIVE, the magazine’s events arm. Her journalism roots sprouted at Ithaca College where she was Editor in Chief for the award-winning campus newspaper The Ithacan. Megan also bartends at Glen’s Garden Market in Dupont Circle and contributes to DCBeer.com – and trains for marathons, in her spare time.

posted by | on , , , , , , , | Comments Off on How the U.S. Can Meet Its Climate Pledge

By Manjyot Bhan

I let out a cheer when Leonardo DiCaprio mentioned climate change during his Oscars acceptance speech. But concern about climate extends far beyond the red carpet.

Religious leaders, military officials, mayors, governors, business executives, and leaders of the world’s nations are all speaking about the need to address the greenhouse gas emissions that threaten our environment and economies.

Last December, world leaders reached a landmark climate agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 21) that commits all countries to contribute their best efforts and establishes a system to hold them accountable. COP 21’s Paris Agreement also sent a signal to the world to ramp up investment in a clean energy and clean transportation future.

U.S. goals and the Clean Power Plan

The U.S. committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 level by 2025. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Clean Power Plan was touted as a key policy tool to help reach that goal. However, with the recent surprise stay of the rule by U.S. Supreme Court, can the U.S. still meet its climate pledge? Simply put, yes.

Clean coal plantUnder the Clean Power Plan, the EPA sets unique emissions goals for each state and encouraged states to craft their own solutions. It is projected that the rule will reduce power sector carbon emissions at least 32 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2030.

Last month’s stay does not challenge “whether” EPA can regulate—the court has already ruled that it can—but rather “how” it can regulate. And the stay is not stopping many states and power companies from continuing to plan for a low-carbon future.

Some of the key ingredients that led to success at COP 21—national leadership and a strong showing by “sub-national actors,” including states, cities and businesses—will also be fundamental to U.S. success in meeting its climate goals.

Other federal policy for emissions reduction

A recent event in Washington—held by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and New America—outlined the gap between existing policy trajectories and the U.S. goal. A secondary outcome of the meeting also explored how federal, state, and local policies and actions can leverage technology to close the gap.

Solar and windAn analysis by the Rhodium Group found that even without the Clean Power Plan, the recently extended federal tax credits for solar and wind energy will help significantly. Existing federal policies on fuel economy standards for vehicles and energy efficiency also support the U.S. goals, as well policies in the works to regulate hydrofluorocarbons and methane emissions from oil and gas operations.

States and cities drive climate innovation

States and cities made a strong showing of support for the Paris Agreement, and they have emerged as leaders in promoting energy efficiency and clean energy.

Additionally, many states are continuing to work toward implementing aspects of the Clean Power Plan. And even those not doing public planning are discussing ways states and the power sector can collaborate to cut carbon emissions cost-effectively. Last month, a bipartisan group of 17 governors announced they will jointly pursue energy efficiency, renewable energy, and electric and alternatively fueled vehicles. The Clean Power Plan stay can be looked at as giving states more time to innovate.

Private sector commitments to climate

Business Climate PledgeMore than 150 companies have signed the American Business Act on Climate Pledge committing to steps such as cutting emissions, reducing water usage and using more renewable energy across their supply chains. One hundred companies have signed the Business Backs Low-Carbon USA, which calls the entire business community to transition to a low-carbon future.

Following the court’s stay, many power companies came out in support of the rule or reaffirmed plans to work toward clean energy and energy-efficiency.

A 2015 UNEP report suggests that beyond each countries’ individual commitments, actions by sub-national actors across the globe can result in net additional contributions of 0.75 to 2 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2020. While it is hard to accurately quantify the specific contributions of U.S. states, cities, and businesses in reducing emissions, they have the potential to accelerate the pace at which the U.S. meets its climate goals.

Manjyot Bhan is a Policy Fellow at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES). She holds a Ph.D. in public administration and environmental policy from American University’s School of Public Affairs and earned her Master’s in Corporate Sustainability from Arizona State University. When she isn’t being a policy wonk, Manjyot enjoys wine-tasting, hanging out with friends, and working out at a barre studio. Manjyot lives with her husband in Washington, D.C. and works across the river in Arlington, VA. 

Follow Manjyot on Twitter @ManjAhluwalia and LinkedIn page.

posted by | on , , , , , | Comments Off on Start a Business for the Win, Part 2: A Beautiful Mixed Bag

By Eva Jannotta

This year I started Simply Put Strategies. I’m a few months in, and learning like there’s no tomorrow. Turns out it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, but it’s still pretty awesome.

Should I work for free? There are other ways to work.

There are also other ways to work besides for money or nothing. I started my organizing business by working pro-bono in exchange for testimonials for my website and before and after pictures. I also barter: a graphic designer friend is designing my business cards in exchange for social media consulting. You could trade babysitting services, pet care, etc. Offering these deals eases pressure on your spending, establishes mutually beneficial relationships, and gives you experience.

Learn everything but don’t do everythingWith the Internet, there is no end to the things you can learn to optimize your success.

You do not need a business degree to start a business. The Internet abounds with resources for everything, which means you basically have no excuse! You can learn to be your own bookkeeper, market yourself, design your own graphics, advertise, ramp up social media, and so on. Of course, doing everything yourself is not necessarily a good investment. If someone else can do it faster and with expertise, it’s worth outsourcing. Weigh if it’s cost effective for you to do, or trade with/hire someone else.

7624914104_16bc3555a6_oHow to cope – Everyone will give you advice and tell you that running a business is hard. Don’t be deterred!

Everyone and their uncle warned me that starting a business is hard. It got old: I knew it would be hard and I like working hard! But it has been challenging in ways I didn’t expect: I didn’t expect the loneliness I feel by spending so much time alone. I didn’t anticipate how easy it would be to get distracted. I hadn’t considered how long some decisions take to make.

Before I started my business, I imagined leaping out of bed every morning and producing badassity until dusk. But sometimes I hit snooze, plant flowers all day, or schedule Skype dates during “business” hours.

When you’re doing your own thing there are no boundaries unless you set them. This is a blessing and a curse: you can work wherever and whenever, which is freeing and invigorating. However, this means that at any given time you may feel like you should be working. Since “working” and “not working” look the same now (they can both be done on your couch or in a cafe) you must consciously designate time not to work.

14360595726_9b6d525bcf_oWork your Network – It may be your best resource.

I put off sharing my business with my network. I worried that sending an email blast to my extended family would be awkwardly self congratulatory. I explained this to my aunt and she said, “you’re going to have to get over that.” She was right.

Part of your unique contribution to a business is your network. You have no idea who wants your services/product or knows someone who does. Take advantage of that as soon as you can – it’s all about people.

Starting a business is a great time to expand your network. If the thought of wearing a blazer and schmoozing grosses you out, think again. Networking isn’t about meeting as many people as possible to use them for your career. Networking is about investing in your community. Putting down roots by meeting people, joining organizations, and learning about your area makes you feel grounded and connected. It has two benefits: it’s good for you as a person, and it’s good for business.

Eva Jannotta is a professional organizer, social media consultant, and the founder of Simply Put Strategies.

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The following is a cross-post from Penny Catterall’s blog Order Your Life. Penny presented the “Organizing Your Life” workshop at the DC EcoWomen Conference on May 18th, 2013.

I recently had the pleasure of giving a presentation on the topic of Eco-Friendly Office Organizing at the DC Ecowomen’s first all day conference in Silver Spring, MD.  It was so popular that I thought it would make a great topic for a blog post, as it is something that comes up more and more often in our society today.

Whether organizing your work or home office, the three main areas that most affect the environment are paper, plastic and electronics.  In the first part of this two-part post, I will be focusing on paper, the area that has the biggest impact both environmentally and organizationally.

First, a few startling statistics about paper:

  • According to the EPA, paper waste accounts for up to 40% of total waste produced in the United States each year, which adds up to 71.6 million tons of paper waste per year in the United States alone.
  • The paper industry is the 4th largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions among the United States manufacturing industries.
  • Worldwide consumption of paper has risen by 400% in the past 40 years leading to increase in deforestation, with 35% of harvested trees being used for paper manufacture.

Not only does paper have a hugely negative impact on our environment, but it also contributes the most to office disorganization.  We are all flooded with too much junk mail –  too many memos and printed emails, coupons, flyers – paper in all its forms.  When paper piles up, it is hard to see what’s important and focus on what really needs to be done.

The first and most important step in office organizing is to take a hard look at your paper and decide what really needs to be there and what doesn’t, and start reducing the influx of paper into your workspace. This will not only clear your mind and desktop, but will help the earth at the same time.

First, start by unsubscribing from catalogs, magazines, and mailing lists you don’t need or read that add unnecessarily to clutter. You can always go online to order things, and you can read your favorite magazines on line or on your tablet as well on apps like Flipboard.

There are some great free apps out there to help you unsubscribe from junk mail and catalogs – my favorite is PaperKarma, which works on both Apple and Android based products.  According to PaperKarma, each US household receives about 850 pieces of unwanted junk mail per year.  This adds up to more than 100 billion pieces of mail per year for the US, about 44% of which goes into landfills without even being opened!

The free PaperKarma app enables you to simply snap a picture of your unwanted mail, press “Send”, and get unsubscribed.  It works best for catalogs, magazines, credit card offers and yellow/white pages.  They do not sell or rent your information to anyone, and all webserver activity is done via SSL (strong encryption).

To opt out of all those pre-screened credit card and insurance offers that seem to constantly come in the mail, you can go to optoutprescreen.com and while you’re at it, get yourself on the Do Not Call list for those pesky telemarketers who always seem to call during dinner.

Next, you need to think hard about what paper you yourself physically bring into your home or office.  Do you really need that flyer from Whole Foods, or can you take a picture of it on your smart phone to refer to later or look it up online?  Do you need to clip paper coupons, or is there a coupon app you can use instead?  CVS, Staples and most other major retailers all make their coupons available on apps these days. You can even snap photos of business cards with apps such asWorldCard Mobile which will then transfer the information directly into your address book. The less paper you bring in, the less visual and mental clutter you have.

Controlling paper outflow is also vitally important in organizing in the office.  You don’t want to create more paper to just put in piles or to have to file.  Think twice before printing, and try not to print temporary pieces of information like emails.  If it is an email you need to refer to later, flag it and look it up in your smartphone, or create email folders by topic and archive them there for future reference.

Instead of printing documents, save them as PDFs on an electronic folder on your hard drive.  You’ll end up saving on both paper and printer ink, which as we all know can really add up cost wise.

Another way to go paperless is to use cloud-based systems like Evernote to digitally capture all the bits of random information that you want to remember instead of writing it down on sticky notes or memo pads. You can scan, take photos or webclip everything from recipes, to travel plans, to useful household reference information, and save it directly into your Evernote account.

You can think of Evernote as an online bulletin board with virtually unlimited capacity and perfect organization capabilities. Evernote makes it so easy, that even if you don’t use their system of notebooks or tags, you can still find any note you entered by doing a search for any word that might be in that note.

Even with all the tips above, our use of paper is not going to disappear any time soon. So when you do use paper, you can reduce your impact on the environment by purchasing recycled paper. Paper made with 100% recycled content uses 44% less energy, 38% less greenhouse gas emissions, 50% less waste water, and of course, 100% less wood!

And for when you are done with your paper, make sure you have a recycling bin in your office – preferably right under your desk. It doesn’t have to be large or bulky, just something to separate paper from trash. And a cross cut shredder is key as well to shred anything with personal information on it. Shredded material can be recycled as well.

Penny Catterall offers professional organizing services for clients in the Washington DC Metro area.  If you missed her workshop on Saturday – “Organizing your Life” – check out her page on facebook!