Holding down the fort for a sustainable way of life

Spruce bud picking for beer

Recently, Oregon Parks Forever was nominated to be an environmental partner by the Fort George Brewery in Astoria, Oregon. We are honored to be recognized by 1% for the Planet and have a few questions for Brian Bovenizer, marketing director at Fort George Brewery.

How did Fort George get involved with 1% for the planet?

BB: We realized that our business goals are aligned with 1% For the Planet. Fort George, from its inception, opened its doors to Astoria as both a brewery and a public house with the desire to serve the community and it continues to this day. We have tried to make ourselves a sustainable company, support local environmental causes, and give back to the community. We joined 1% For the Planet to hold ourselves accountable to our mission and hopefully have a larger impact. Sustainability is not about the world today; it is about how we leave it for tomorrow. This means we must invariably be looking for ways to improve with regards to the environment, the economy, and the community.

Our first “Short Sands” beer was developed to support a local Surfrider Group who were taking care of the beach by that name on the coast. “Beach Eagle” is another June Seasonal beer, and is also a 1% FTP/Surfrider beer. Both were such successes, we are expanding by raising funds from the sale of our 12 oz line and Lager Series, donating up to $25K to local environmental groups.

Why did you choose Oregon Parks Forever as a 1% nonprofit partner?

BB: When we learned that we could nominate local non-profit environmental groups for 1%, we thought of Oregon Parks Forever. We joined a cohort of beverage makers who had supported the Wildfire Replanting Program in 2023, which provided over 803,000 trees to areas burned by wildfires. We wanted to continue to help them with their important work, so last year, we joined the beverage makers to fund OFP’s new program, WE CARE FOR PARKS. Their first project was to help restore Minto Park in November. The project attracted over 50 volunteers, on a rainy day, and they put in a full day of work. We were impressed with Oregon Parks Forever’s organization on the ground. This group knows how to get it done. By nominating Oregon Parks Forever, perhaps other 1% for the Planet businesses can also show them some love .

How do you live out your value of sustainability as a business? What goes around comes around.

Brian Bovenizer: Fort George was founded with a mission to be sustainable, involved with the community, and to support local environmental causes. We have always sourced much of our grain and hops from the Pacific Northwest. We also distribute our beer only in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Northern California, further reducing transportation emissions.

We are taking measured efforts to increase sustainability at Fort George. We humbly mention that The Oregon Beer Awards recently gave the “Sustainable Brewers Award” to us.

Fort George is blazing the trail and leading the way for community and industry partnerships. In 2015, Fort George became a charter member of the Oregon Brewshed Alliance, committed to protecting watersheds throughout the State of Oregon. Good water makes good beer. 

In 2017 we started reaching out to other businesses, local government, and community members about working together to advance sustainability initiatives throughout Astoria and Warrenton, forming the Sustainability Coalition to acknowledge and address their role and responsibility in the areas of solid waste and recycling issues.

In what ways do you engage your employees and stakeholders in supporting environmental initiatives?

BB One of our favorite and most unique brews is the Spruce Budd. The beverage—made of boiled spruce needles—was once popular with indigenous North Americans as a cure for scurvy. The brew staff go out for a day, in a forest managed by Greenwood Resources, to carefully pick spruce tips for our beer. Last time, we gathered over 800 pounds.

Fort George Brewery has designated the last Tuesday of every month Benefit Night at the public house. These events rallied nonprofits, the brewery, and the community, helping to raise over $133,000 in cash donations for local charities in 2017. Fort George contributed an additional $35,000 in goods and services last year, helping local and regional nonprofits raise money at their fundraisers. Our goal is to provide support for organizations with a focus on education, human services, arts & culture, and the environment.

In addition, we hold “Nature Matters.”  From October through May, a free community education series in the Lovell Showroom. The Thursday Talks feature presentations from a rotating group of local organizations including Clatsop Community College, Clatsop County Historical Society, The North Coast Watershed Council, Lewis and Clark National Historic Park, the Brewshed Alliance, and the Philosofarian talks on Wit & Wisdom.

Learn more and visit the brewery when you visit Astoria. Website

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