Patagonia’s Brewery Collaborations Aim to Help the Planet, One Craft Beer at a Time

Eleven well-known craft breweries will each make their own beers using a sustainable grain called Kernza.

Patagonia may be known as one of the premiere names in outdoor wear, but what does a retailer of recreation gear know about great beer? Quite a bit, it turns out. Especially as it applies to beer that’s sustainably sourced. In 2012, the California-based brand launched a line of food and beverage products dedicated to organic and regenerative ingredients. Dubbed Patagonia Provisions, the 2022 F&W Game Changer honoree has focused primarily on tinned fish for the past ten years. Now it’s unveiling a partnership program with some of the most acclaimed breweries in the nation — and 11 exciting new beers are coming to market as a result.

Each of these releases will be brewed using Kernza, a perennial whole grain harvested from wheatgrass. A whole slew of reasons was provided as to why its better for the earth: Kernza requires minimal tilling and improves soil health and water-holding capacity. It can even help fight the climate crisis by drawing far more carbon from the air into the ground than annual grains.

Grain is harvested

And it also happens to taste great in a lager. Beer geeks ought to appreciate the novelty it introduces to a notoriously predictable style — namely, a nutty sort of richness that still goes down easy. Or at least that’s the case when left in the capable hands of the award-winning beer-makers at Russian River Brewing, Sierra Nevada, Allagash, and Maui Brewing, to name but a few of the country-spanning cadre of craft operations involved in the project.

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“Patagonia is thrilled to partner with these value-aligned breweries, all driven by delicious flavors, high quality ingredients, and responsible business and brewing practices,” said Paul Lightfoot, general manager of Patagonia Provisions. “Craft beer drinkers want great tasting beers made with clean ingredients that are better for the planet, and we look forward to bringing these beers to Patagonia customers and all beer lovers.”

The inaugural batch of Kernza lager is brewed with certified organic grain from A-Frame Farm, a 1,200-acre operation out of Madison, Minnesota. Among the initial brews, Kenza content ranges from 15 to 40%. Additionally, each specific brewery involved will incorporate its own spate of regionally-sourced organic ingredients. Those individual one-offs will be co-branded by Patagonia and each made available in their respective localities for a limited run, with the beers rolling out as of late last month.

The current list of brewery partners includes: 

  • Allagash Brewing Company (Portland, ME) 
  • Arizona Wilderness Brewing (Gilbert, AZ)
  • Aslan Brewing Co. (Bellingham, WA) 
  • Bang Brewery Company (St. Paul, MN) 
  • Hopworks Urban Brewery (Portland, OR) 
  • Maui Brewing Company (Kihei, HI) 
  • Odell Brewing Co. (Ft. Collins, CO) 
  • Rhinegeist Brewery (Cincinnati, OH) 
  • Russian River Brewing (Sonoma County, CA) 
  • Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Chico, CA) 
  • Topa Topa Brewing Company (Ventura, CA)

Participating breweries will contribute 1% of their Patagonia beer sales to local nonprofits supporting environmental initiatives. The outfitter will match these donations and, if sales are strong, Patagonia hopes to expand the program to include more breweries and more regenerative, organic ingredients in the months ahead. So if you’re a fan of great craft beer and planet earth, it’s a great time to go grab yourself a six pack.

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