2° Out West Podcast

Aluminum cans on a canning line at Upslope Brewing being filled with beer.

Brewing up Change: A Sustainable Approach with Alex Ditto and Colin Schilling

Ever wondered how your favorite beer or cider impacts the environment? Tune into this episode of 2 Degrees Out West as we serve up a hearty conversation with Alex Ditto from Upslope Brewing Company and Colin Schilling from Schilling Cider, who are brewing a sustainable future for the beverage industry.

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Colin and crew presenting a check to Washington Wild as part of their Keep It Wild Campaign.

Ever wondered how your favorite beer or cider impacts the environment? Tune into this episode of 2 Degrees Out West as we serve up a hearty conversation with Alex Ditto from Upslope Brewing Company and Colin Schilling from Schilling Cider, who are brewing a sustainable future for the beverage industry. They share their unique approach to utilizing infinitely recyclable aluminum cans over glass bottles and cutting down on water consumption in the brewing process.

Alex and Colin outline ways they are making their breweries more sustainable, including harnessing renewable energy, reducing water use, electrifying their fleets, and more. We also chat about what they’re most excited about for the future, including the potential of carbon capture technology and carbon neutrality.

A tour in a brewery.
Alex leading a sustainability tour at Upslope.
My big belief is that business can be a force for good if applied correctly.
Colin Schilling

And, of course, we’ll be diving into the craft beverage industry, exploring the growing popularity of cider in the Pacific Northwest and highlighting our guests favorite beverages and outdoor recreation spots. Engage your taste buds as we discuss the unique flavors and processes involved in brewing. So pour yourself a cold one and tune in now as we raise a glass to sustainability in the brewing world! 

Upslope Sustainability Chart

Please consider leaving a review after listening so more folks can find our podcast. Also, please check out the further reading list below to check out all of the articles and resources that we mention throughout the episode.

Want to be part of 2 Degrees Out West?

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Thanks for listening. Let’s all work together to keep the West wild.

what i like about the west

We would love for you to contribute to the new “What I Like About the West” Segment. 

Create a 40-second voice memo telling us what you like about the West and email it to us at Jessi.Janusee@westernresources.org. We would love to feature you on our next podcast episode! Also, please take a minute to watch this 1950’s video of Tex Williams performing the song, “That’s What I Like About the West.” His song was the inspiration for this segment. 

That's What I Like About The West

Episode Guest:

Colin Schilling – Founder of Schilling Cider

Alex Ditto – Sustainability Manager at Upslope Brewing


Full Transcript


Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 00:02

Whether you’re skiing or you’re on a long hike, maybe you just finished a beautiful kayaking trip or you’re out camping. A lot of us really enjoy an adult beverage when we finish exploring nature. There’s like a little something about marking your adventure with that ice cold drink that’s really seeped into our collective unconscious. There are over 3,000 breweries in the West and the US beer industry is 81% domestically produced, so that’s a lot that we are producing every year – 208.6 million barrels of beer, 3.5 million barrels of hard cider. That’s something we might not be thinking about when we’re enjoying that round of brewskis with our friends when we’re camping is the sustainability, the water use and the different resources it takes, and also what happens with all of the excess after the beverage is produced. On today’s episode we’re talking with Upslope and Schilling about their sustainable brewing practices. We have some fascinating ways that they are focusing on sustainability when they’re brewing our cider and beer.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 01:11

You know those of us who are kind of on the forward edge of sustainable business, to be able to take those first steps and then kind of create the models for those who may be a little slower to make the change.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 01:20

Welcome to 2 Degrees Out West, a podcast where we celebrate all the things that we love about the Western United States and we focus on climate action so that we can keep the West healthy, beautiful and thriving for generations to come. I’m your host, Jessie Janusee, the multimedia storyteller here at Western Resource Advocates. Now let’s talk to Schilling and Upslope about their amazing practices and delicious beverages. I wanted to start by having each of you introduce yourself.

Alex Ditto – Upslope Brewing Guest 01:53

Yeah, my name is Alex Ditto. We’re here at Upslope Brewing Company. I work in the quality lab full time doing quality assurance and quality control, and then I’ve been acting as the sustainability manager for Upslope for a year or so now.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 02:09

Awesome. I’m Colin Schilling, co-founder and CEO of Schilling Cider. Obviously, I’ve been there since day one and my background is I have an MBA focused in sustainability and entrepreneurship, and so we’ve really kind of brought as much of that ethos as we could into the business, kind of from the very beginning.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 02:26

I would love kind of an overview of each of your companies, Alex, if you want to go first.

Alex Ditto – Upslope Brewing Guest 02:32

Sure, yeah. So Upslope Brewing Company. We are located in Boulder, Colorado. We’re founded in 2008 by three guys Matt, Danny and Henry, just normal dudes who loved beer. We’re kind of around the craft brewing boom, outdoor enthusiasts and friends, and kind of got together and, were like you know what, I think that we could do this different. I think we could add something to the brewing industry. I think we could bring kind of a different ethos to it. So a lot of them came from guiding outdoor education business and then, just like outdoor enthusiasts and that all kind of melded together with a love for craft beer to form Upslope. So, 2008, three guys founded our first facility, which is now our smaller R&D brewing facility.


I mean, kind of like since day one the ethos of it was quality drinkable beer and enjoy outdoors and kind of their motto was to leave a mark with their beer and not their footprint. And so very first way that that took on kind of you know these guys backcountry skiers are pissed that they’ve got to like schlep glass bottles up the mountain and then like put them in their bag and like ski them down. Like this is stupid. So number one was kind of getting in those aluminum cans. And so since day one we’ve been using aluminum cans for that packability, the outdoors, and also that infinitely recyclable aluminum has kind of been part of our ethos. You know, reducing weight on transport, saving gas, saving mileage, that kind of thing. So that was the original vision of sustainability, and since then it’s really built in, snowballed and we’ve been able to go really cool places with it.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 04:07

Awesome. Yeah, so our background is similar on the cans side, so that’s really cool. But going back a little bit farther, so I grew up in rural Idaho. My parents have been making cider since the seventies with just trees that were on our property and it was very old school cider making where you’d basically shake a tree until you had a truck bed full of apples. They’d go into town to the community press, come back with some five-gallon carboys and basically let it sit for six months in the root cellar. So I got curious watching that process and I said, hey, there’s got to be a more scientific way of doing this. And so I made some batches. You know it’d been a hobby ever since I went up to grad school, got my MBA. Like I said, my focus was on entrepreneurship and sustainability and business.


Went to work for a big corporate giant for about five and a half months out of grad school and said hell no. I talked to one of my other friends who went to grad school with and said look, cider’s trending right now, Angry Orchard is really blowing up and at the same time I’ve been doing this for over a decade as a hobby and there’s not a lot of other small folks doing this. Let’s jump in and see what we can do. We were 22 at the time, so of course no one would take us seriously trying to rent a building or get an alcohol permit.


But we made it happen, and that was actually one of our core ethos, how do we build sustainability into the model from the very beginning, and for us that was cans as well, and at the time there were no other cider companies canning at all. There was one company importing cans from Europe and that was basically it. So everybody was in glass bottles, either 12 ounce or 750s or 500s, and we said look, you know, cider in the Pacific Northwest, where we grow all these apples, can be sold at beer prices while still being really high quality. And so we decided not to go the wine model but to go more of the beer style model with cider, and we really wanted to incorporate cans because they were so much more sustainable, lower carbon footprint, much more recyclable.


Like you said, and that was a challenge at the beginning, there was a lot of stigma against cans of cider specifically, but we’ve really helped to change that, and my big belief is that business can be a force for good if applied correctly, and what we’ve seen with cider is it’s over 60% of the total cider market in the US is now cans, and I feel like we did a lot of work to help sway that, and so did craft beer, of course, too, with early adopters like yourselves and craft beer.


So we’re really proud of that. And as we continue to grow up and build bigger facilities, we’ve tried to use technology for good as much as possible. So we’ve done a lot of really trick things with building out our canning line and our production facility. We recently took our entire fleet EV, so Chevy Bolts and Teslas, which is pretty cool and again, early adopter of that and that’s not without its pain points. But, like I said, I’m a big believer in kind of showing a different way and then creating that snowball effect of that influence on other businesses to kind of follow in suit and create exponential change that way.


So that’s what really gets me excited about the convergence of business and sustainability.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 06:43

Yeah, I love that. I never really even thought about cans versus bottles as, like a longtime PBR drinker, I’m just like, yeah, it comes in cans, what are you talking about? But that’s cool. I mean, yeah, the stigma, right? Like it’s nicer if it’s in the glass, like somehow the product is way better. But obviously cans are cool.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 07:02

And a lot of companies pushed that for a long time too. So it was also changing the opinion on quality. I mean, I’m sure obviously Upslope has certainly seen this as well but cans keep light out 100%, they keep oxygen out in a better way, so it actually is a better package. Not only is it more sustainable, but it’s literally a better package for quality.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 07:21

Thanks, that’s good to know and that’s so cool that you changed your fleet to be electric. I love that. I bet you’re saving a lot on gas.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 07:29

Oh yeah, I mean I got $6 at charge versus, you know, $50 bucks a tank. I mean obviously it’s great for the environment, but it’s also great for the bottom line. So whenever you can combine those two things, it’s really a great win-win.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 07:40

Yeah, for sure, let’s get into the process more, because I want to talk a bit about, like water use and I just don’t know a ton about how beer is made and how cider is made specifically with water, like how much consumption you guys have. Colin, you want to start this time for fun.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 07:54

Sure yeah. So water is inherently quite a bit different from beer on the front end.


So we are, you know, all of our fermentable sugars are coming from the apple juice itself. So if you look at kind of like total life cycle, obviously they are watering the orchards to grow those apples but once they get into our facility we’re essentially just bringing the juice and fermenting that. So most of our water is only processed water. We’re not actually adding water to the fermentation itself. So there’s obviously a much lower usage on that end. The cleaning side you know our CIP cycles, which is clean and processed. A lot of that equipment is basically the same brewery or cidery. So on those side it’s going to be pretty similar, I imagine, just like Upslope. You know we have an eye towards minimizing that use. So we have a fully automated CIP system that recycles a lot of its water. So all of the caustic, for example, is reused and so that cuts down on a lot of waste in that way and then because it’s automated, it has an eye towards minimizing its usages from that perspective.


From you know, some smaller brands or brands starting out are obviously doing it more in a manual process and then inherently tends to be a little more water intensive. One of the ways we do use more water than we currently like that we are working on fixing is on our pasteurizer. So the difference with beer and cider is, for beer it’s shelf stable on the brewing process because you don’t really have any fermentable sugars. When you’re done fermenting it with cider, because it’s all fructose, those sugars that are going to be in most ciders that have a little bit of sweetness to them, those can ferment again. So you have to basically stabilize that product, otherwise it’s going to have problems when you send it out into the world. And so for us we use heat pasteurization. So that’s much like you know, canning pickles at home, where you put it in a container, you heat it up to a certain temperature and then you bring it back down. So we do have a state of the art pasteurizer. It’s 12 feet wide by 90 feet long.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 09:33

If you think about like a big, you know those pizza ovens, you see sometimes where it goes on a conveyor belt really slowly, and then the other side it’s cooked. It’s essentially like that, except it rains down hot water, but it has a bunch of different zones in it, and they regenerate heat from one side to the other. So, if you think about like a bell curve, it heats it up, holds it and brings it back down, and then each of those zones basically matches with the zone on the other side and then reverts the energy back. So, once this thing is full, it’s about 90% recuperative, 90% efficient, so it’s very efficient once it’s full, and so our goal in running that is to basically fill it and then not have the line stop, because, obviously, anytime we have stoppages, then you have less efficiency, and so we do a really good job on uptime and keeping that thing full.


One thing we’re looking to improve right now, though, is, you know, sometimes, especially in the summer, when it’s really hot out, it needs more water on the cooling side, and that’s drawing water in to do that, and so we’re looking at some various options for, like, an evaporative cooling tower that would allow us to cut down on water usage, you know, to basically keep that thing at the right temperature. So once we solve that, we should be in a really, really good situation in terms of gallons of water produced. Per gallon of cider it should be under one, which is our goal.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 10:36

So wait, can I bring like my pickled green tomatoes and stuff and just put it on your line?

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 10:42

As long as it’s not in glass, we don’t allow glass to have a machine.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 10:45

Okay, fair, fair, fair. Well, I don’t know how I’m going to can my my veg. I got to think about that.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest1 0:50

Yeah, you could figure out some like stainless steel vessel made before it.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 10:54

Ooh, yeah, guess. Okay, Alex, you want to tell us about your process at Upslope.

Alex Ditto – Upslope Brewing Guest 10:59

Yeah, totally yeah, Colin touched on some of the similarities. It’s really cool to hear, like, what you guys do and some of those processes we’d love to put into place too. Like that automated CIP sounds super cool. For us, the major consumptive use of water is the beer itself. I’ll mention like obviously you know we start with the agricultural products, so there’s water that goes into that. But, starting with, once the grain, the malted barley, arrives at our facility, beer is like 90% water and that’s like making up a pint of beer. Not even the cleaning process or anything else that’s happening in our brewery. So that, right off the bat, is super resource intensive. And so one of the biggest aims of our sustainability efforts is like how do you, how do you be most efficient with the other water that we’re using? Because you know you can’t downsize that 90% of that beer, you need that filler for that water. But how in the rest of our brewing process can we be most resource efficient? So a lot of that has come into play. Like we’ll try to recycle water and recycle heat.


So, in the brewing process, instead of getting our fermentable sugars from like apple juice, like in cider, we get it from malted barley, and so you kind of make this steeped hot water, ground up grain mixture, and that’s kind of where you get this, your fermentable sugars. You end up with this sticky, soupy grain you know grain water soup, you know technical term for it is wort and then from there we throw it into a fermenter, we’ll mix our yeast with it and then that’s when the yeast will really start to consume that sugar. So the yeast are eating up those sugars and they’re producing what we want out of the process, which is alcohol and CO2. And so in the course of like a week or so it will ferment down that wort into beer, and so there’s that huge water load on the front end and then kind of throughout the whole process, we’ve also got a lot of water use in there. So we’re using water for our cleaning processes, for, you know, cleaning our tanks, cleaning our facility, and one of the biggest like water savers that we have put into place with that is just starting to put water meters all around our facility. And so we’ve been able to really like track and hone in what areas of our brewing are using the most water and what can we do to cut down on that. So, like in our brew house. We’re noticing that whereas you,


when you brew the beer, obviously it’s hot and yeast does not really like hot, hot temperatures, and so before you pitch that yeast into it, you need to cool it down through heat exchanger, which basically you just run cold water by your hot wort and exchange that heat, and for the longest time we were wasting a lot of that cooling water to. One of our brewers kind of noticed that we had a possibility to recapture a lot of that, and so through some changes to our brew house, we’ve been able to recapture most of that water which we actually then use because it’s getting heated from that heat exchange. We can then use that hot water for other parts of our process. So we’re saving water by recycling that, and we’re also saving on natural gas because we don’t have to heat that water with our boiler anymore. That’s been a really big upgrade for us.


And then, yeah, once that beer is fermented about over a week or so, we’ll filter it. You will throw it into our canning line, we will put it into cans. We also have a pasteurizer and, like Colin mentioned, we have a, instead of a big tunnel, we have a flash pasteurizer. Heats up the liquid for some of our like fruited sours and fruited hard cocktails that we do, so that you know that’s water and energy intensive as well. But then, yeah, we’ll throw them into cans, send them out of the building and beer is on its way.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 14:24

That’s cool that you just put water meters everywhere right, knowledge is power and just even yeah, getting just that first step right of like okay, ‘where’s our water usage? And how can we identify where it’s the most?’ You know we’re using the most and then like make changes. That’s rad.

Alex Ditto – Upslope Brewing Guest 14:42

Yeah, it’s been really, really helpful. You know, like you said, knowledge is power, it has been insightful, you can’t can improve if you can’t measure.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 14:49

Yeah, yeah, and I feel like also, you know every everybody’s just like trying to get things done day to day and it’s like easy to just keep going with the processes that are like good enough. So taking that extra step to be like, okay, no, let’s like upgrade these and make them better and more sustainable, like is kind of more work on the front end, right, but then it saves you on the back end.

Alex Ditto – Upslope Brewing Guest 15:09

So that’s cool, totally yeah, and it’s been really helpful, like I think the biggest thing is, Colin I’m sure you’ve seen it is, like the people who are doing these processes day to day are the ones who see the waste like you know, our cellar men, our brewers who are actively using the water are the ones who are going to know like, hey, why do we dump this down the drain instead of reusing it here, as opposed to, you know, sustainability analyst or whoever might come in, and you know, hey, let’s save water, but you have no idea how. So it’s been really cool. We’ve had, because of the ethos of our company, we’ve had a lot of just employees who are like, hey, I think we can do better here, I think we can do better here, I think we could save this here, and it has like led to real, real savings in a lot of our resources.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 15:49

Sweet. Yeah, you got to ask the people that are doing the thing, they have, yeah, they know the most. They know how to help. That’s really cool. So are there any other ways that you guys are bringing sustainability into your processes and your companies overall? You mentioned a lot of different ones. I don’t know if there’s anything else we didn’t hit on.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 16:09

There’s a cool one that we did. It was a custom build, so my co-founder is definitely an honorary engineer. He’s done some pretty incredible things, but we worked with our local electricity  company to get a grant and what it is is, so in beer and in cider you basically have liquid CO2 on hand and that’s how you’re generally injecting it into your carbonation process, how you get carbonation in the product, and to heat up that CO2, generally speaking, you have an electric heater which is using a ton of energy, and on the flip side, during fermentation, you’re creating thermal energy from that fermentation itself.


That’s part of the process of the yeast consuming sugar and creating alcohol, and you have to cool that down, otherwise you get runaway fermentations that taste terrible. So for quality reasons you need to keep that at very specific temperatures, and so basically you’re again spending energy to cool down that glycol, which then recirculates back to the tanks after it’s been cooled down. And so we have a really trick heat exchanger now that we got paid for by the electricity company because of such energy savings, and so we use the hot glycol coming back from the tank farm to heat up the cold CO2, which then also pre chills the glycol before it hits the condensers, so you’re saving energy on both sides and recouping energy. You know that heat energy that would have been literally paid for to get disposed of by electricity and I forget the exact number, but it saves us like an ungodly amount of kilowatts per year to use that. So that’s a pretty cool one.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 17:26

And again, we’d love to share that with other folks to my knowledge we are the only ones that have ever built one of those, but I’m sure others exist. I mean, it was just something that Mark, you know, envisioned in his head and had fabricated, so that’s a really cool one. You know, in addition to the EVs, we’ve also converted our forklift fleet over to EVs as well, which is pretty easy to do. That’s a pretty low lift, because most forklift manufacturers are now offering a lot of EV products and you know you charge them every night and it’s just more efficient and it’s honestly better for your air quality in your warehouse anyways. So those are, you know, one easy one a little bit more difficult, but things that I think anybody could kind of look at in the alcohol production industry.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 18:01

Yeah, indoor air quality, that’s important. We’re talking a lot about that, about, like, building electrification and like, yeah, just that we don’t have good ways of monitoring indoor air quality, and yeah.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 18:13

Oh yeah.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 18:13

That’s rad. And propane is expensive, you know. So win-win. What about you guys, Alex?

Alex Ditto – Upslope Brewing Guest 18:19

Yeah, there’s been a, there’s been a couple of good ones that we’re like pretty stoked on. The biggest probably has been for electricity. In 2018 and 2020, we installed two solar arrays respectively on our roof and that’s been really cool. So we’ve got a 25 kilowatt and a 47 kilowatt system and that’s been awesome for us. It covers a lot. I think one of those arrays almost completely powers our cold room where we kind of store our package product and then some so we’re able to kind of sell those recs back to our utility. So that’s been really, really cool. That’s reduced our carbon footprint by staggering amounts and it’s just been like really cool thing that we’re proud of. We were able to partner with a local company to get those installed. So, yeah, powering mostly through solar has been really cool.


Colin touched on CO2. That’s been a big one for us. You know we use CO2 pretty much in every part of our process. So really learning ways to be as efficient as possible and we found that again once you, once we started measuring and kind of understanding where we’re at with our CO2 baseline, we were able to save really big amounts just by doing things like changing out old hoses, that were having little CO2 leaks and using kind of, it’s called an umbilical system from a centralized CO2 port instead of kind of like running CO2 to everything. That’s been really cool.


One of the ones that I, like I’m most excited about is our waste streams.


So, probably similar to cider, like, the grain that we start with in our brewing process accounts for 97% of our solid waste throughout the whole process, like forget the cans, forget all the other things that we’re doing, forget, like the hops, the yeast, the grain, just as a staggering amount.


And three or four years ago we started partnering with a farm that’s located pretty close to us here just up in Northern Colorado, and when we finished steeping that grain, we pump it all out of our building, put it into a big trailer and every few weeks this farm will come and pick it up and take it to their farm and use it for animal feed.


So instead of a lot of, I think most breweries just send that to landfill. So instead of that sitting in a landfill and, you know, producing methane and other harmful effects, we’re really excited to be able to send that to a farm and have that reused and kind of like integrate ways of that circular process you know it’s a hard thing to do, since unless you found your company on that, and like even our industries are just not meant to be circular, kind of we’re stepping into a broken system. So just like step by step ways that we can, you know, make that, make that a roundabout loop, and so that’s been really fun to see, just like the massive, massive amounts of waste that we’ve been able to divert and no longer have to see go into a landfill.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 20:53

Is there a process for that grain? Do they have to dry it out? I’m sure they have to dry it out. Just wondering how it all works with the animals.

Alex Ditto – Upslope Brewing Guest 21:01

That’s a really good question. I don’t know the ins and outs of it. It comes out fairly… It’s not like a soupy, but it is dry enough. I think that they can either process it from there with a little bit of processing or dry it. Yeah, that’s a great question, but I think it’s pretty close to ready to be consumed.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 21:19

Man, I spend a lot of money on goat food and chicken food. I’m like huh, I have a brewery. We have a lot of breweries in town, so yeah, I know I got to figure that out. That would be cool. What about? Oh, I wanted to ask you, Colin, for that grant. Did you get…

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 21:39

We got that from our local electricity company. I mean, there’s a lot of that kind of stuff available. We installed EV chargers for all of our employees to use. We have three of those. Now we’re getting another four put in. Again, they’re paying for the vast majority of that as well. So I would definitely encourage companies listening out there to check out your local utility and see what they’re doing, because they’re generally incentivizing all sorts of energy efficiency opportunities for companies and homeowners too.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 22:02

Yeah, I actually. I just did a podcast about that for New Mexico. Clean cars, yeah, nice, it’s pretty rad.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 22:09

Yeah, one other thing you touched on CO2, and I think that’s a really hot button issue.


We did our first carbon inventory last year voluntarily, we’re in our second one right now, and our ultimate goal is to figure out what it would take to get our company as a whole carbon neutral, and obviously you can buy credits to do that, but we’d like to get as far as we can before we go the credit route, and so we’re really just trying to gather up the data right now and understand where our baseline is. Last year being our first year, we fell somewhere in line with top 25% of big brewers in terms of CO2 per ounce is how we’re trying to look at this, which is great, but again, I think cider has some advantages anyway it’s just because of the way it’s produced. And ultimately, we’re trying to figure out how we do get to zero. And so CO2, there’s a couple things you can start with.


Like, for us, we used to carbonate in tanks and then you basically pressurize the tank of CO2 into your packaging line, but when you’re done, you’ve got an entire tank full of basically two volumes of worth of CO2 that are kind of then vented to the atmosphere, and so we installed an inline carbonator which you can adjust on the fly, so it’s really really accurate, but then, on top of that, you’re not wasting basically a whole tank worth of CO2 when you’re done. And we are exploring carbon capture right now. One of the silliest things if you look at most beverage gas, beverage carbon, is it’s generally coming from petroleum refining plants. That’s just the reality of our world. And up here in the Northwest, a couple times over the last couple of years, our local refineries have shut down for maintenance or whatever and we have literally been rail-carring carbon CO2 in from, I think, Ohio, from a refinery in Ohio so not only were we bringing in carbon from a refinery but our carbon had a carbon footprint.


So it’s just so absurd that the payback period on carbon capture is long. It’s very expensive, very technical equipment, but we’re pretty seriously looking at it right now and we’re hopefully going to move forward with that in the next year or two. But it’s a big commitment.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 24:02

I mean, like you said before, some of these things don’t have a quick turnaround, quick ROI, but if it’s the right thing to do and you’re committed to it, then it makes a ton of sense. And obviously, as the world gets more and more crazy, I would just say, a lot of these things start to make sense faster and faster from a risk perspective from a number of different ways.


So again, it was really great when you can make a business case for something that is also in line with your values in a big way, and the carbon capture system may only be like a three to five year payback, which is very different than it was even five years ago and a lot of people said it was a 20 year payback in our industry.


So love to see some of this technology progressing and allowing those of us who are kind of on the forward edge of sustainable business, to be able to take those first steps and then kind of create the model for those who may be a little bit slower to adopt the change.

Alex Ditto – Upslope Brewing Guest 24:51

Totally, that’s super cool. I didn’t, yeah. I think carbon capture is definitely kind of where it needs to go, because you’ve got yeah, again, it’s connecting those waste products to those resources that you need and we’re venting off. We’re literally venting off CO2 into the atmosphere just to buy CO2 from somewhere. It’s absurd. That’s super cool. We’ve been talking about carbon capture too. That’s kind of like the pie in the sky, the ideal of CO2 savings in brewing and fermenting. There’s some really cool options out there. We’ve been talking to a local company. They want to start like it’s almost like a co-op carbon capture facility for breweries that may produce more than they use, or splitting up some of that capital. We’ve talked to cannabis growers and stuff like other industries that need high demands of CO2 that we could almost have a share with on a carbon capture.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 25:41

Dang. What does that even look like? Like a carbon capture co-op? I don’t, could you explain what that would be?

Alex Ditto – Upslope Brewing Guest 25:48

Yeah, again, this is super conceptual. We’ve only had a few conversations about it. There’s a local guy in Boulder who is kind of pioneering this. I don’t know of it existing elsewhere, we’ve just heard of it because it’s so, in Boulder you’ve got a ton of breweries, you’ve got a ton of cannabis grow, you’ve got a ton of other industries that are using CO2. So it’s kind of just come up.


I think it would be packaging and you produce enough CO2 to run your own facility as well as packaging. So the actual unit would sit probably, if you’re doing it in a co-op in the biggest producer of carbon dioxide, which would likely be a brewery in this instance, and then being able to package and get that CO2 out to local businesses. So your source of CO2 is coming from a byproduct rather than a chemical process somewhere else. And then, rather than shipping it from Ohio at times or wherever we’re doing the same, we’re shipping our CO2 in. So, rather than shipping it across states, you’re driving it across town to deliver it to places that need it. That’s the gist of it. Again, I’m not into the weeds with the technicalities of it, but it’s an exciting idea.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 26:59

Yeah, it’s funny how all these things just make sense, right? You’re like duh, why wouldn’t we do that? But no one’s doing it, right? Because making the transition to new technology is difficult. So people are like let’s just go the easy route that we know how to do, even though it’s way worse and more expensive.

Alex Ditto – Upslope Brewing Guest 27:17


Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 27:18

Yeah, and ironically that equipment’s been around for a long time. So in Germany for brewing they’ve got brewing laws. You can’t use beverage gas from a refinery, you have to capture it by law there, and so they’ve been doing it forever, or they’ve been from what do they call it? Bottle conditioning? Right, it’s kind of a more classic way to do that. Sierra Nevada has been doing that for a long time.


But these systems are crazy expensive, and so that’s really the prohibitive factor. It’s basically a gigantic balloon that sits up above your brewery and captures all the CO2. And then these compressors have to compress it and clean it into liquid CO2. And those things have to run 24-7. They cannot stop. So that’s why you have to have this big balloon that’s basically got a buffer and then you’re compressing it into a liquid and then liquid sits in a tank, just like you would receive it. So it actually is really easy to send out. Once it’s in that purified, liquefied form, it would be sending it out just like any other CO2 delivery. But, like you said, closing that loop is incredible, especially when you’re able to deliver it to your local, other local people that need it. So that’s the prohibitive factor. It’s just cost. I mean, these things are millions of dollars, even on the small scale.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 28:18

Yeah, but you get that co-op going right and then you get to share your resources, I love that.

Ok. So then I was just going to pivot and ask about you guys working with WRA, and you both have supported us and that’s part of your work for sustainability and everything. So shameless plug, I guess, for WRA, but just wondering why you work with us.

Alex Ditto – Upslope Brewing Guest 29:05

Yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, we just love you guys’ vision. I think in a lot of ways, we’re both kind of going after the same thing. Like here at Upslope, we want to live and play and do business in the West because we love it here and we want to keep doing that for a long time. Right, we want to enjoy our resources.


Like Upslope was founded on being outside and enjoying our product in the outdoors, our employees here are stoked to hike and bike and climb and camp and snowboard and ski and all the things, and we want to be able to do that for our whole lives. We want our kids, our grandkids, to do that and, Colin, like you were mentioning, using a business as a force for good is really in our DNA. But also recognizing the limitation that we can only do so much in our geographical area in our industry, our size business still has to be a business. So, working with partners like WRA, who are incredibly skilled in other facets of fighting climate change and mitigating its effects, yeah, we’re just so excited to work with others who can do things that we can’t and who are out there fighting for the same things that we’re fighting for.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 30:14

Yeah, I couldn’t agree more on, kind of the ethos behind that for sure. For us, the specific way we got partnered with y’all was through a campaign we started two years ago called Keep it Wild, and it’s every April for Earth Day, Earth Month. We do this campaign where we’re donating 5% of our sales on a bunch of different items that we sell back to organizations that are literally fighting for all the things we just talked about specifically keeping wild places wild and preserving it for future generations and our own recreation. But one of the things why this is so cool is, like I said, my background is in business and sustainable business, and so what’s so exciting about this is, if you look at the generational differences, from Baby Boomer all the way down to Gen Z and Gen Z in our world we call LDAs Legal Drinking Age Gen Zs it’s kind of the newly 21s it’s a technical term for newly 21s, right.


And what’s so exciting about this demographic is, unlike some of the older generations, older millennials like myself included who, you know, flashy advertising works really well on us it doesn’t work very well on these folks they actually care about what the companies are doing and where they’re putting their money, and so this is actually a fantastic development because, instead of spending money as a business like us to grow and sell more product on flashy ads and giving it to Zuckerberg and Google and all these companies, we can actually partner with folks like yourselves and put that money to work in really powerful ways and then just let people know that we’re doing that, and so this is not a very big lift.


You know, they’re really savvy on tech, they’re really smart folks, and so they’re going to go out and find the companies that are doing partnerships like this and are actually putting their money where their mouth is. And that’s what’s so great about this is we can divert 90% of money that we would have spent on ads to nonprofits that are doing great work in the community that we believe in, and that also increases our sales, and so it’s a win-win-win in my opinion, and we couldn’t be more excited about kind of that change, and we are working to do more and more of these kind of partnerships and again diverting that money that we would have, you know, 20 years ago we would have been spending on ad agencies and ads.


So, I think it’s a fantastic development and we’re really excited to be partnering with y’all and being able to support that work instead of, you know, supporting some billionaires third yacht.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 32:19

Yes, I love that. And also, you guys gave us some cider for our retreat when we did team kickball and my team won. Just saying.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 32:29

Nice. Well, definitely it’s the cider.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 32:31

Yeah, it was clearly the cider. I was like look how cool this packaging is. It’s like so artsy, I love it. I’m going to drink this now and then rock kickball. It was really… my team was just great. You know, I just picked the right team, that’s all.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 32:41

Hell yeah.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 32:43

Tell me about your favorite drinks that you guys have at each of your respective breweries.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 32:49

Yeah, so I’ve been making cider for a long, long time and drinking a lot of cider from a lot of different places, and one of the things that you know in the early days of cider was the unobtanium was kind of this high tan in you know, French style flavor, and the only way you could get that was by buying really expensive and hard to find bottles from France.


And so a couple of years ago I think 2017 now we really kicked off the Imperial Cider Revolution with our Excelsior and I’m wearing the shirt actually from the Excelsior series and that’s all about taking our local fresh pressed juice, and then we are actually bringing over apples from France, which I know sounds insane, but the problem is that in the US we have basically, we don’t have any high tannin apple scaled up production anymore, so during prohibition there was a law that you could not own enough apples to grow more than 250 gallons of juice a year, because back then nobody ate apples. They just used it for making hard cider, and so the entire US, you know, apple growing industry was just decimated and it never really came back. It came back as eating apples which don’t make this flavor profile, and so we started making imperial ciders, and so that means that we’re making ciders that are higher in sugar, that us higher in alcohol, and they just have this beautiful, amazing kind of Southern French flavor profile and I just love the way that tastes. It’s so classic but it’s so innovative and American as well. And then we make one called the local legend, which has our Sasquatch on it and that’s like a session version of that. So you get this amazing kind of like French style cider but it’s like 5% alcohol, so you can crush three or four of them.


So those are those are my favorite setters that we make. They’re just the straight apple, have that really kind of classic flavor profile and it’s just something pretty different than you normally see here. You know, and we’re working with agriculture, you know, obviously very heavily in the Pacific Northwest, but we’re also able to kind of reach across the pond to the roots of cider. You know, cider is a very European drink by historical standards, and so we get to bring some of that tradition into the US as well, which is really cool.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 34:39

I wonder like could you create an orchard here of that more high tannin, French style?

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 34:44

100% and it’s happening. But the problem with cider apples is they take 7 to 10 years to mature and we’re a 10 year old company. So even if we had the foresight and the millions of dollars to put in all those orchards in year one, we would just now be getting the full harvest. So it is happening in the US and they’re more and more available. But you know, if you think about it, in the US cider is still only 2% to 3% of Bev Alc like total sales, and in France and in the UK it’s 15, 20%. So, it’s just such a bigger industry over there that they’re just much more mature than we are in the US in terms of production. And you know, and they’ve got trees over there that are hundreds of years old or orchards that are hundreds of years old.


So, you know, again we’re able to kind of tap into that historic industry over there and help bring that to the US. And especially the thing about France specifically, it’s kind of interesting from a carbon perspective. You know they have the lowest carbon footprint energy grid of any developed country and that’s primarily from nuclear. Actually, you know, I think it’s like 70% plus nuclear there. And so you know, even though we’re importing it from France, the growing and the processing side of that is so much lower, not a wash, versus getting stuff from the US.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 35:49

Well, I can’t believe the cider consumption is so low. I would not have guessed that. It seems like, I mean all my friends are drinking it.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 35:58

In the PNW it’s about 7%. Okay, so in in cider regions where there’s a lot of cider ease, it’s much higher. Just like with craft beer, right, Like a, Colorado has got to be one of the top craft beer consumption states in the country, but I’m sure if you go to, like you know, name a state that you don’t think has a lot of craft beer that is probably much lower, you know.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 36:13

Yeah, that makes sense. I started drinking cider when I moved to Portland, so checks out.

Colin Schilling – Schilling CiderGuest36:17

Check out yeah. Oregon’s one of the epicenters, for sure.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 36:22

Yeah, that’s fair. Yeah, that makes me wonder. We have a Meadery here that we partner with a lot and they’re awesome, Black Rabbit Meads and that makes me wonder, like, what’s the mead percentage? It’s got to be real low.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 36:3

Probably unmeasurable.


Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host


Yeah. Poor babies.


Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 36:35

But I do love mead. I’m not hating on it, it’s just. It’s just definitely a small and a small niche industry.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 36:42

Yeah, for real. What’s your favorite, Alex?

Alex Ditto – Upslope Brewing Guest 36:47

Oh man, we’ve got…my favorite is like kind of dark lagers, which we know we’re moving into that season, so I am happy as can be. We’ve just put out a couple of like some Czech style Pilsners that have been excellent. We’ve got some really cool brewers here who are putting together great recipes. I mentioned earlier our first facility. We’ve since moved into a bigger facility which is where kind of a lot of our sustainability practices take place at, like our main production facility. But this other facility we use for R&D and we’ve been making some awesome like more traditional Czech and German style loggers and Pilsners out of there recently and I’ve been really stoked on those.


We’ve got a Munich Dunkle on that I really really enjoy. It’s kind of, you know, it’s a malty, a little bit roasty, not so much like in the stout territory, but you can it’s still crispy and kind of crushable, really enjoyable. Honestly, I love it. We’ve got right now, we’ve got five core beers that we’ve got out and I love a couple of those in particular. But what I really enjoy about it is like the consistency. I thinks something that Upslope prioritized for a long time, is just like consistency, especially in those core styles, like I think you can go any season, any retailer in the country and just like know what you’re going to get, and I really enjoy that about our product. Obviously being in the quality lab that’s one of my main concerns.


All time favorite, though, is our seasonal oatmeal stout, which we’ve just started brewing and just kind of putting out into the world right now. I really like it because I think it’s an incredible oatmeal stout. I think it’s delicious. Give it a try.


I love it because we work with a malster and grower up here. They produce malted barley called Root Shoot, and they’re like literally 10 miles up the road from us and they’ve got a really cool facility, really cool family owned farm, and they’re doing like a ton of sustainable practices there, really kind of shaking the ground up in like barley growing as well as their other crops, and so it’s been really fun to like partner with them, to like go and pick up the grain that we use and see, see the practices that they’re using, seeing their land, seeing like how much more fruitful it is from some of these sustainable agricultural practices that they’re working on. So, I love that beer. I love it because it tastes incredible and I feel like it’s like really just symbolic of kind of what we’re about and what Root Shoot’s about, and so it’s been really fun to work with them to produce that.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 38:58

Nice, so local. I love that, yeah.

Alex Ditto – Upslope Brewing Guest 39:00

You know doing our best. That’s part of like even just like touching back on what we do for sustainability, Like there’s so much around, you know, resource use that goes into these industries, but also like our supply chain, our people, our communities, like supporting people who are other people who are doing really cool things that we can’t in our area is like just near and dear to our heart.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 39:20

Okay. So, I wanted to ask about ways that the brewing industries in general could be more sustainable, but I feel like this could become like a really long answer and we’ve already touched on a lot of things. So maybe like the number one way that if you were like talking to a new cider spot or a new you know beer spot and they were like, oh, we’re thinking about becoming more sustainable, what’s just your quick tip that you would give them,

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 39:46

I’d go on that front. It’s actually kind of like a my high horse, I would guess I would say, and I  realized that’s a little negative connotation, but it’s something that really bothers me, which is, you know, everyone’s moved to cans, which is fantastic, super sustainable. But you’ve seen this rise in wraps and stickers and there’s a lot of greenwashing going on around wraps and stickers, like literally even King County or local recycler on their website it says they’re recyclable. But I’ve actually done some pretty deep digging in this and they’re really not recyclable If you don’t take those wraps and stickers off. And there’s a, there’s a lot of great ways around this, but people are just kind of like sweeping under the rug and the reality is if those cans do make it to recycling, they get shipped overseas and every pallet of cans is 15 pounds of plastic melted off directly into the atmosphere, because most of the recycling goes into countries that have low, you know, emissions controls is the reality of this. And so there’s been a great rise in digital print cans.


So even if you’re a brand new producer starting out, you can get digital print cans from very, very small runs. You can get as little as a hundred cans if you want. It’s just a little bit more work on the logistics side. The cost is relatively similar. You need less equipment to can it. If you really, really have to wrap or sticker a can which please, please, please don’t you can put a zipper on it and you can put language on it that says you know you must tear this off and throw it away before you recycle the can what a lot of municipalities do, recycling municipalities if it’s got a wrapper sticker on it, it goes to the landfill. So now you’re taking something that Upslope and Schilling were going to use a hundred times over, you know, infinitely recyclable and you’re taking it out of that permanently in your land filling. So it’s really one of my pet peeves is one of the companies. You know. I feel like we did a ton of work and did a lot of influencing people off of bottles and into cans and there’s been this big movement into wraps and stickers in the last five years. It’s kind of just driven me absolutely bonkers for lack of better term.


So that’s kind of my big, big thing that I’ve been shouting from the rooftops is just please don’t wrap or stick your cans. Please use a digital print or, if you have to, you know, do some language and some education around removing that wrapper sticker before you recycle it.

Alex Ditto – Upslope Brewing Guest 41:49

Yeah, that’s a really good, really good point.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 41:52

I have a follow up question. So, like I get local beer obviously, and it’s just got the like papery gluey is that what you’re talking about? But then I like try to be really good for the most part and like soak it and like peel it off, but like I have to do that, to make it recyclable.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 42:12

Yeah, I mean, are you saying it’s actually paper? I haven’t seen a lot of paper ones. Usually it’s some type of plastic.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 42:18

Well, I guess I’m thinking about when I get it in a bottle, not in a can.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 42:22

Oh, in a bottle.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 42:23

I don’t know what they’re doing on the cans. I like can’t visualize like what it feels like.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 42:29

It’s literally a sticker they put on. It’s usually a plastic sticker they put on cans or it’s a shrink wrap they put on cans. I’m not as familiar with the glass, but you know paper labels are definitely a lot better than plastic and it’s usually paper that’s on glass a lot of times.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 42:42

And that’s fine, because that could just go. They’ll just soak it. Right now I’m getting into like, how does recycling work?

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 42:49

Well, if you want the truth and I’m sure Alex would agree with this but glass isn’t recycled at a very high rates in the US. It’s mostly landfill. Most recycling places will take it and then they separate it and they put it in a specific place in the landfill. But if you think about it, aluminum is expensive to mine and it’s very recyclable and it’s very light, so it’s valuable and so it’s really easy to take aluminum can and make a new aluminum can.


If you think about glass, you’ve got all these different colors you have to sort and on top of that it’s heavy, so you can’t ship it very far, and it’s also basically sand. So you have a glass plant right next to a place where there’s a bunch of sand. You just pull out new sand. It’s a lot easier to do that than to recycle. So, the truth is and I don’t have the numbers off top of my head most municipalities are not actually recycling glass, even if they’re taking it. It’s kind of like wish cycling versus actually recycling, whereas aluminum is basically recycled everywhere in the US because it’s so valuable and it’s so light.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 43:37

So when I am like a little witchy grandma and I save all of my glass jars, I’m actually like really doing the best for the environment.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 43:47

Well, reusing them is fantastic. If you’re going to reuse jars, that’s by far the best thing you can do. And you know, if you look at glass in other countries, they’re actually refilling those same glass bottles and that’s phenomenal, you know. You look at some of the beer brands in, you know other countries where they’re literally taking those same glass bottles, washing them and refilling them. That’s better than even recycling the aluminum can. But we just don’t do that in the US. And so if you look at what’s the best of the worst, you know in the US it’s, you know glass bottles are not great in the US because they’re generally not recycled.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 44:17

Okay, I’m going to do a recycling podcast next. Thanks guys.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 44:19

And find someone smarter than me, because I only know enough to be dangerous. So don’t quote me too hard.

Alex Ditto – Upslope Brewing Guest 44:24

Yeah, that’s a deep rabbit hole. It’s definitely worth a podcast on it.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 44:30

What’s your one tip, Alex?

Alex Ditto – Upslope Brewing Guest 44:33

Yeah, That’s a great tip, Colin, and definitely like an unknown one. My tip would be just start tracking, find ways to start. You know, if you’re starting up in ground zero, you’re putting yourself in a better position because you can, you know, innovate these things from the beginning. Or you know, if you’ve already been going for a while, if you’ve been going for a really long time, like there’s still always ways to figure out how much how much CO2. How much water, how much waste, how much electricity, how much natural like, just start tracking your resources. It’s like budgeting right, you can’t make changes if you don’t know where things are going or coming from. I think that’s really just the baseline of everything. If you’re able to like start, start knowing where you’re at and then like okay, well, I think we can start going from here.


And there’s some really cool tools out there in the brewing industry, the Brewers Association has a benchmarking tool. That is incredible, really, really powerful tool that becomes more powerful as more breweries submit their data to it, because you can kind of start to benchmark yourself against breweries in your size. So you can, you can really see, you know if you’re a micro brewery, if you’re a midsize, if you’re a large brewery, you can see where you’re stacking up, not against you know somebody who’s in a different league, but some. You know your neighbors, your competitors, people who are like right up there with you. So, tracking your resources, beginning to enter into tools like the, the BA benchmarking tool, New Belgium has a lot of really cool publicly accessible tools out there.


I think that’s just huge. Once you like you said earlier, Jessi, knowledge is power, like if you know where you’re at, you can start to track your changes. You can see, like, what things are actually effective with that data and it’s fairly easy to do. You know you can call up your utility, you can shoot, you can, like you know we’re, we’re next to a university here, like you can call up a college student in a, in a sustainability program, and they will help you track, track down these numbers and start to, like measure your resources over time and then, once you’ve got those systems in place, it’s pretty easy and really, really powerful.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 46:24

That sounds awesome, Alex. I’ll definitely put the Brewers Association website in our show notes so people can find that. What are you guys most excited about for the future of brewing, and specifically the future of upslope and chilling?

Alex Ditto – Upslope Brewing Guest 46:36

I touched on a little bit, but my, my heart, my kind of background is in ecology and so, like my, my excitement around kind of the climate change movement and climate change solutions for me a lot of it’s based in agriculture and, you know, being dependent on agricultural products.


I think we have a really cool opportunity to partner with our producers, to partner with farms, to partner with people who are stewarding our land and producing our crops. Like I mentioned, Root Shoot is doing that. There’s a couple of our other suppliers that are, like, really working towards that. So, I’m excited to see the brewing industry lean into that more and promoting, you know, regenerative agriculture to take carbon into the soil instead of doing practices that are releasing it. I think you know we’re limited in how much we can do in the brewing industry. You can have the most efficient brewery in the world and you’re still using tons of water, tons of electricity, natural gas. But if you can, through financial or other kind of partnerships, support people who are, you know, stewarding the land and I think they have a huge opportunity to create climate solutions, that that really fires me up. I think there’s a big potential there.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 47:40

Nice, awesome.


Yeah, I think for me.


I talked about this a little bit before, but the newly 21s, the Gen Zs, have a pretty different outlook on how they see businesses and how they interact with businesses, and I think that’s amazing for companies that are sustainably minded, because it allows us to live our ethos and our sustainability even more and put more of our resources there and put less of our resources in some of those traditional spends like flashy advertising and things like that, so we can actually divert more of our resources and still be a successful business while supporting the things that are near and dear to our hearts.


And so that’s what really gets me excited is, you know, we’ve really seen this shift, but I think millennials really started, but Gen Z is really game even more on, which is allowing us to run businesses differently and still succeed, because, at the end of the day, you know whether you’re a B Corp like Upslope or you know a regular LLC like us, you know you still have to make money at the end of the day to survive. It’s still a for profit business, but you know we can now do even better while still doing well for ourselves. And so that combination is really exciting for me and that allows us to continue to take, you know, more risks and innovation, and you know product development and, and you know quite frankly, doing things that people wouldn’t have dreamed of doing 20 years ago, which gives me hope for the future in terms of, you know, doing business in a different and better way.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 49:01

Yes, please give millennials a little bit of credit. I feel like we tried.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 49:03

We started the trend, so I’m all about it.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 49:07

Last question what’s your favorite place to go in the outdoors?

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 49:11

I have to name just one place?

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 49:16

You can, you know you’ve got like a minute to answer, so you can say a couple.

Colin Schilling – Schilling Cider Guest 49:21

I’ll go this one and I’ll try to keep it in a minute, but mine change by the season. So that’s what I love about living up here in the Pacific Northwest is I have different activities for different seasons. That I absolutely love. And right now it is pouring rain 24 seven in Seattle, surprise, surprise, which means the mushrooms are popping. So I’ve got a four day Chanterelle hunt coming up, which I’m really excited about. A couple of years ago I got over a hundred pounds in a weekend of Chanterelles which I still have in my freezer and I’m still eating, which is awesome. You know, in the winter I’m a big snowboarder. I love snowshoeing as well, so getting out and doing that, you know. And then Spring & Summer I’m on the Puget Sound, I’m on the water, whether it’s kayaking or stand up, paddle boarding or boating or things like that.


So yeah, like Alex was saying before, if you live on the West coast, if you live anywhere with this great nature, you got to be taking advantage of it. And I love the seasons because it just keeps it fresh, keeps it new all the time. So, I’m all about it.

Alex Ditto – Upslope Brewing Guest 50:08

I love that. Similarly, like seasonality kind of, kind of determines it. Luckily out here we get a little bit more sunshine so you know, if you’re willing to bear the cold, you still get out and do a lot of things year round. I honestly it’s, it’s so simple. I love the foothills of Boulder. I’m a big cyclist and just like I think the cycling just west of Boulder is, it’s world class, so I love it. It’s right out, right over back door here at Upslope, outside of that again, I grew up in California. It’s Sierra Nevada’s like Sequoia National Park. It’s just, it’s stunning, it’s nostalgic to me. I miss it. Yeah, those are, those are my faves.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 50:47

Thanks so much, Alex and Colin, for being on the show. I think a lot of the stuff that you shared about becoming more sustainable is really universal. You know, looking at your energy usage, looking at your water usage, just being more mindful about recycling and consumption is really things that we can apply every day in our lives and in our businesses. This has been such a fun episode. I feel like I learned a lot about the brewing industry and it just made me think really differently about you know how beverages are made. It’s just been a pleasure to spend time with both of you. Okay, before we go into “What I like about the West”, which is my favorite little segment, first we have to do our sponsor shout outs. We’d like to take a minute to thank our stellar 2023 sponsors, including our impact sponsor, First Bank, the largest locally owned bank in the organization in Colorado. We’d also like to thank our premier sponsors, Solup and Vision Ridge Partners, our signature sponsors, Denver Water and Kind Design, and our supporting sponsors Great Outdoors Colorado and Jones & Co. Modern Mercantile. Thanks so much, sponsors, for supporting our work and supporting this podcast, and if your organization is interested in becoming a sponsor, we would totally love that. You can find out more in our show notes.


Okay, it’s time for “What I like about the West”. This is our little segment where we ask you guys to share things that you love about the Western US, and anyone can really be part of the segment. All you have to do is send us about a one minute, even a little bit less than that voice recording, or you can just message us on social media or email and I’ll read it out loud for you, and we just want to share what you love about the West. Once in a while, I take this little segment and do like a poetry reading or share some sounds from nature and just go kind of in a different direction with it. Recently, I’ve been reading Emergent Strategy by adrienne marie brown and there’s just so many gems in there. It’s really an amazing book if you’ve never read it before, but I wanted to share this one quote from it for “What I like about the West”, just to give you some sort of little inspiration. So here is a Dara Cooper quote that’s kind of nestled in Emergent Strategy, which was put together and written by adrienne marie brown.


“As part of our liberation, the Earth teaches us that everything, everything is connected. The soil needs rain, organic matter, air, worms and life in order to do what it needs to do, to give and receive life. Each element is an essential component. Organizing takes humility and selflessness, and patience and rhythm, while our ultimate goal of liberation will take many expert components. Some of us build and fight for land, healthy bodies, healthy relationships, clean air, water, homes, safety, dignity and humanizing education. Others of us fight for food and political prisoners and abolition and environmental justice. Our work is intersectional and multifaceted. Nature teaches us that our work has to be nuanced and steadfast and, more than anything, that we need each other at our highest natural glory in order to get free.” I just really love that quote. I found it so inspiring and when I read it, I immediately thought about the work that we do here at WRA, so I wanted to share it with all of you, and I hope that you also get inspired by it.


Okay, that’s a wrap for this episode. Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate you. Two Degrees Out West is produced by Western Resource Advocates. We fight climate change to sustain the economy, environment and people of the West. Find out more about us in the show notes. I’m your host, Jessi Janusee, and I hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode. I hope you’re having a beautiful holiday season. We’re about to enter season three of Two Degrees Out West, so if you have any ideas for podcast episodes, I would love to hear them. Please reach out to us. That would be amazing. Alright, have a great one.


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