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Sustainability Spotlight: Aslan Brewing Company

Sustainability Spotlight: Aslan Brewing Company

March is B Corp Month, and although it’s winding down, we didn’t want to miss an opportunity to highlight one of Bellingham’s B-Corp-certified local businesses!
Peak Sustainability Group’s Kat Klass interviewed Jack Lamb, co-founder and CEO of Aslan Brewing Company. Lamb shared how Aslan’s founders committed their business to triple bottom line principles, making a profit while also prioritizing the needs of people and the planet.

Aslan Brewing Company, a member of Sustainable Connections, is based in Bellingham, WA and was founded in 2012.

From the beginning, every decision the Aslan founders made was through the lens of sustainability. When Aslan opened its brewpub doors in May of 2014, team members focused on crafting world-class beer with local ingredients and low-impact practices. Less than two years later, Aslan became a certified B Corporation, taking their triple bottom line commitment to the next level of accountability.

Lamb puts it this way: “We need to take care of our community, our employees, and the planet, while striving to make the best beer in the world.”

Focus on People and Community Builds Brand 

Aslan’s community involvement runs deep. Each month, they match approximately $2,000 in donations for local organizations. Recent partners include Vamos Outdoors, the Whatcom Humane Society, and the Bellingham Public Schools Foundation. Additionally, one of their largest fundraising efforts came from sales of their “American Lager” in June 2020. They donated 100% of the profits (over $21,000) to Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County. You can also find local artists’ work on display at the brewpub, with a new artist featured every month. 

Local artists’ work in the Aslan brewpub. Clockwise from top left: Stephen Baddeley, Madison Churchill, Kristen Frakes. Image credit: Aslan Brewing Company.

Aslan puts employee well-being first, too. They emphasize creating high-quality, fulfilling careers while establishing opportunities for employees in underrepresented groups. They’ve also focused on closing the pay gap between salaried and hourly employees in the company.  

Caring for the Planet Across all Operations 

Environmental stewardship is incorporated into all decisions made at Aslan. They are a certified organic brewery, and all brewery cleaning chemicals have a minimal impact on the environment. Additionally, all operations consider the life cycle of their inputs and outputs. When renovating the historic McBeath building to create the brewery, the team made sure to reuse and recycle the original building materials. They applied the same ethic when remodeling their Seattle Taproom space.  

Construction and demolition are resource-heavy practices. Aslan Brewing reduced their impact of opening several locations by remodeling the buildings instead of tearing them down. Image Credit: Aslan Brewing Company.

In late 2019, Aslan joined PSE’s Green Power Program, which matches their energy use with renewable energy projects in the Pacific Northwest. In 2020, Aslan began purchasing water restoration certificates to offset the wastewater produced from their operations, as brewing is a water-intensive industry. They were able to offset 25% of their wastewater in 2020 and 50% of their wastewater in 2021.

Moving forward, they aim to maintain their wastewater offset goal of 50% through 2022 and fully offset the energy used in 2022 at the Seattle Taproom.

Building a Profitable and Resilient Business 

Because of their commitment to the well-being of their employees and community, Aslan has demonstrated that business can be used as a force for positive impact and survive and thrive even during times of economic stress.  

Aslan designed their beer distribution plan with uniqueness of place and local pride in mind. Their goal has been to maximize local distribution as opposed to widespread expansion. You can find their beer in stores and restaurants in Washington, British Columbia, Oregon, California, and Idaho. 

Triple Bottom Line Benefits 

Aslan’s triple bottom line commitment isn’t simply a “feel-good” strategy. An ingredient in their success is a willingness to lean into all aspects of sustainability – and have a good time doing so. Says Lamb, “Contributing to community, questioning your impact on the environment and community… it’s not always seen as fun. People have always valued the fact that we make it a party to do good.”   

Lamb also knows that Aslan’s purpose-driven approach boosts employee retention.

“People understand that when they sign up to be part of a triple bottom line business, they’re working for a place that is not settling for less. I think that kind of mentality keeps people around because it makes them feel like part of the solution.”  

Next Steps 

Plenty of businesses care deeply about their impact on their employees, communities, and the environment, and any company can lean into sustainable practices! For those wondering where to start, Lamb has a piece of advice: take the B Impact Assessment to spark ways to improve your triple bottom line. Lamb says, “It’ll give people plenty to work on. You can still use B Corp assessments without being certified.” Aslan Brewing values constant improvement, so they will continue to explore ways to make sustainable, world-class beer and build community.  

Check out Peak’s blog for more information about B Corporations. 

Interested in obtaining B Corp certification? Peak’s sustainability consultants can help you get started and efficiently navigate the B Corp process. We also analyze business systems, measure environmental impact, conduct ESG reporting, build sustainability plans, and advise on third-party certifications. Email to schedule a 30-minute free consultation.  

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