Standing Stone Brewing Company

Sustainability

Sustainability Programs Earn Us #6 Best Green Business in 2014

We’re overjoyed to announce our 2014 ranking as the #6 Best Green Company in Oregon! Our standing, presented by Oregon Business Magazine, was announced Wednesday during the annual award ceremony at the Nines Hotel in Portland. Our brewpub’s co-owners, Alex and Danielle Amarotico, were there to receive the coconut-wood award with the other Top 10 winners.

GreenLogoEvery year, Oregon Business offers an anonymous employee survey to companies all over the state. From this survey they create a list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, 100 Best Green Companies and 100 Best Nonprofits. Over 16,000 employees in Oregon rank how satisfied they are with their workplace’s sustainability efforts in various areas, including recycling, composting, purchasing local, reducing overall waste and more. Out of 400 participating companies, our coworkers ranked us in the Top 10 for the fifth year in a row, and for that we send everyone a big thank you!

Standing Stone-ians listed several programs as “very important to them” in our overall sustainability plan. Through our Employee Bike Program, employees who work over 1000 hours are eligible for a free bike to get them cycling to and from work. Our One Mile Farm supplies the brewpub with meat and eggs from animals raised just a mile down the road, and employees love fueling up on the local fare. Finally, our recycling and composting program requires everyone being on-board with sorting kitchen and brewery waste, and Standing Stone employees jump to the task everyday to make this happen.

green business awardWe also want to give a big congratulations to Rogue Creamery for earning the #3 spot this year, up from #10 in 2013. We’re thrilled to join them in showing the rest of the state that Southern Oregon operates with sustainability in mind!

You can view the entire list of the Top 100 Best Green Companies online and in the June issue of Oregon Business Magazine. Many of these businesses are constantly forming unique and creative ways of operating to reduce their environmental footprints, so keep an eye on them for future news. Be sure to congratulate names any you recognize, and encourage other great local businesses you know to participate next year!

By in Community, Sustainability 0

We Want You To…Travel Oregon Forever

TOF_Green_TransparentIn making craft beer at Standing Stone, we rely on the well-being of Oregon’s natural resources for quality brews – local hops, exceptional barley and fresh tap water. We want to do our part to make sure these resources stay healthy and abundant for generations to come, and we are thrilled to join almost 50 other organizations in the state with certification as a Travel Oregon Forever sustainable business.

Travel Oregon Forever was created to give tourism businesses access to the most current sustainable tourism resources. Based on the 37 Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, Travel Oregon’s Sustainable Business Challenge is a voluntary reporting program that quantifies and qualifies the commitment of tourism and hospitality organizations to running sustainable and environmentally responsible operations.

At Standing Stone, we operate our brewpub in a way that protects and restores the environment, and enhances the health and happiness of our employees, guests and community. Our operations focus on supporting renewable energy, waste reduction, pollution prevention, greenhouse gas reduction, resource conservation, good jobs, local food producers and the use of environmentally preferable products.

Other Sustainable Business Challenge participants from Southern Oregon include Momentum River Expeditions,travel oregon award Ashland Film Festival and Troon Vineyard. Make these businesses part of your next vacation plans and support sustainable progress in our area. You can also use Travel Oregon’s Sustainable Travel Tool to plan an entire vacation based around visiting “green” hospitality businesses, including restaurants, breweries, wineries, hotels and attractions.

We’re honored to be on this list with so many innovative companies around Oregon!  For more information from Travel Oregon, and to see other participating businesses throughout the state, visit their website. Come in for a pint and raise your glass to keeping beer-happy resources in Oregon abundant and healthy.

Mark Your Calendars for Pints for a Purpose

Here at Standing Stone Brewing Co. we are committed to supporting people and the planet. Through our Pints for a Purpose program, we donate a portion of beer profits to a local nonprofit which shares our vision of environmental sustainability, local food, education and community.pints_purpose

The votes are in and Standing Stone employees have chosen four outstanding groups to benefit from this program. On a special evening, Standing Stone will donate $2 of every pint of beer sold in the brewpub from 5p-10p to the organization selected for that day. The Pints for a Purpose dates are as follows:

  • Nov. 12 Ashland Food Project– The Ashland Food Project brings in over one-thousand pounds of food a year, one bag at a time, for local food banks. It encourages long-term, community involvement.
  • Dec. 3 CASA of Jackson County–  CASA volunteers speak-up for the safety and well-being of children who have come under the care of Child Welfare due to abuse and/or neglect. They are sometimes the only legal advocates these children have.
  • Jan. 14 Rogue Valley Farm to School– This Southern Oregon non-profit educates children about our food system through hands-on farm and garden projects, and by increasing local foods in school cafeterias.
  • Feb. 4 Friends of the Animal Shelter– FOTAS helps animals in area shelters by encouraging adoption, improving quality of life, promoting spaying and neutering pets, and educating the community about responsible pet guardianship and animal welfare.

Since it began, we’ve raised thousands of dollars for area non-profits. All beneficiaries are chosen through vote by our diverse group of employees, who live right here in Southern Oregon.  If you know of a local non-profit that shares our vision, click the link to learn more about the program and how to apply.

It’s not often you can enjoy a craft beer while helping others. So mark your calendars and join us at the brewery on the assigned day to help support these incredible area non-profits! And, as always, drink responsibly. Cheers!

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New on Tap: Wildtrail Ale

Once-again we are participating in Beers Made By Walking, a program that asks brewers to make beer inspired by plants found on nature walks. Our beer will be served during a special event, with other nature-infused brews, on October 26th at Belmont Station in Portland. The beer starts flowing at noon and some of the brewers will be available to talk from 2-4.

Michael Altman, a certified nutritionist and member of the American Herbalists Guild, blazed the trail this summer in our search for edible, flavorful, and medicinal plants for the brew. On our foray around Hyatt Reservoir,  we discovered yarrow, mint, elderflower, and St. John’s Wort among others.

Our friends at Beer Made by Walking say “yarrow, mint, and elderflower perhaps are most familiar in beer history. Yarrow has been used as a bittering agent in beer, providing some medicinal value, and was used in gruits before the widespread use of hops. Elderfower has been used recently in a few different commercial beers, and a recent cider. It is appealing to many because of it’s soft citrusy character. Mint has also been used in beer and is certainly more common in tea. It is likely that many of the mint beers have used commercially available mints, so the use of a variety growing wild in the landscape is certainly appealing.”

(*photo by Larry Chase)

Come taste the bounty of The Pacific Crest Trail with Yarrow and Saint John’s Wort! The style is similar to a braggot, which is an ale brewed with malt and honey. This light, amber colored ale with its spicy and floral aroma will leave you wanting more! Cheers!

Beer Made By Walking

Style:  Its Own Style 

Color:  Light Amber
Aroma:  Spicy and Floral
Mouthfeel:  Medium
Flavor:  Honey, Yarrow, Perception of sweetness with slight sour character
Alcohol:  6.9% abv
IBU:  15 (estimate)

Original Extract:  14.8 Plato (% sugar in the wort)

Malt

  • Organic 2-row
  • Briess Special Roast
  • Organic Carapils
  • Acidulated

Adjunct

  • Wildflower Honey (Willamette Valley) – 30% of fermentable sugar

Hops

  • Bittering:  Organic Magnum

Flavoring Plants – collected near Lake Hyatt

  • Yarrow
  • St. John’s Wort

Another Great Turnout for Pumpkins and Pints

This year’s Pumpkins and Pints was a smashing success down on One-Mile Farm! Hundreds of pumpkin-carving, music-loving friends and family came out to make this one of the best years ever. And thanks to the Turner Moore Band for providing the tunes to help make this, our 5th annual event, so much fun.

We are also happy to get a chance to share the Standing Stone Brewing Co. Farm Project with the community. This is where we source all our eggs, beef and poultry for the brewpub, keeping the food loop as close to home as we can. We also compost the all restaurant’s food waste there, keeping it out of landfills.

Thanks again to all for coming out! Here’s a look at some of the fun!

(*All photos by Marina Pecoraro)

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Saddle Up for Bike Commute Challenge in September

Every September we get in gear with biking events at Standing Stone Brewing Co. Our motivation this month stems from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s Bike Commute Challenge, encouraging employees at workplaces all over Oregon to bike to work and log collective miles. We participate annually and come up with a few incentives and events of our own to make September one of the best biking months of the year!commuter bike

Here’s how the Bike Commute Challenge works: Anyone can register their workplace for free at btaoregon.org. Participating employees log their trips and miles on an online calendar, which keeps track of totals and automatically enters members into weekly drawings. Businesses and groups can challenge each other to log the most miles, and at the end of the month the BTA ranks businesses by percentage of bike commutes and announces the winning companies at a big After Party in Portland in October.

We have all our Standing Stone Commuter-riding coworkers signed up, and bike teewe’re celebrating in a few ways of our own, too. For the month of September you’ll see brewery servers in our signature “Powered By Beer” bike tees. Come get one of your own to show your love of biking and beer! We’re also holding a weekly in-house raffle for employees who ride round-trip to work, and throwing a big grand prize drawing at the end of the month. Sorry, fans, employees only!

We’re also thrilled to announce we have seven new bikes coming to employees this week. These coworkers have been with Standing Stone for the minimum 1,000 total hours and promise to ride their new Trek bikes to and from the brewpub at least 45 times in the first year. After that, the bike is theirs to keep. This brings our total fleet to 57 bikes, growing from just 17 when we launched the program in 2009.

Lastly, our chef, Eric Bell, has recently been trained as a League of Americanbike rack Bicyclists certified instructor. All our new Standing Stone Commuter bike recipients will go through a required training with Eric later this month, and all employees wanting a refresher course will join the group as well. We’re looking forward to having on-site knowledge about safe biking practices and we’ll be sure to tap Eric’s brain for tips and ideas for biking around town.

Join in the fun by biking with us all month long! September weather makes for great riding conditions almost any time of day, and our latest specialty beer – Commuters Gold Ale – makes a great finish to any biking trip. We think the physical, psychological and environmental benefits of commuting by bike make it the preferred method of transportation for our coworkers, so expect to see lots of us two-wheeling it to and from the brewpub and using the big, yellow bike rack out front.

Standing Stone Ranks #2 Best Green Company in Oregon

We’re raising our glasses at Standing Stone Brewing Co. to toast our ranking asaward the #2 Best Green Company in Oregon! The designation comes from Oregon Business Magazine and its annual review of the Top 100 Best Green Companies. We’ve been in the Top 10 each of the past four years, and we’re thrilled to earn this coveted spot on the list.

More than 300 people came out to watch the unveiling of the Top 10 Best Green Businesses at the awards ceremony Wednesday at The Nines Hotel in Portland, OR. The keynote speaker, Oregon’s first lady Cylvia Hayes, engaged the crowd about social responsibility and the amazing work that companies are doing all over our state. We thank Oregon Business for hosting this great event and bringing together a room full of passionate and pioneering business representatives from our region.

During the presentation for Standing Stone’s award as the #2 Company, the bike programRPM Bike Program, waste management program and Farm Project all were acknowledged as top reasons why Standing Stone continues to make the list. We’re overjoyed with the recognition and want to thank our employees for all their commitment and innovation that make these programs successful!

Here’s how the ranking works: Every year Oregon Business offers an anonymous employee survey to companies all over the state. From this survey and independent research they compile a list of the Top 100 Best Companies to Work For, Top 100 Green Companies and Top 100 Best Nonprofits. Employees rank how satisfied they are with their company’s efforts in various areas, as well as how important those efforts are to the individual. In 2013, they heard from 440 companies and over 18,000 employees! We want to send a big thank you to all our coworkers for taking the time to fill out the survey so that we can join this list year after year.

This year, we are extra proud to represent Southern Oregon in sustainable melza farmbusiness operations and innovation alongside Rogue Creamery of Central Point. Our friends, the world-famous makers of artisan cheese, jumped from number 48 to 10! Congratulations, Rogue Creamery, and kudos for all you do.

You can view the entire list of the Top 100 Best Green Companies, and be sure to congratulate any names you recognize! A lot of these businesses are forming unique and creative programs to constantly improve sustainable operations, and we have much to learn and gain from the various models. Until next year, we’ll continue improving upon all we do at Standing Stone and hope to be on the Top 10 list again in 2014!

Sourcing Salmon-Safe Hops

In brewing, cooking and tending to our farm, we are always looking toward environmentally sustainable practices that benefit land, health and community. This year, in a move to source even more ingredients for our brews from farms that practice similar missions, we are welcoming Centennial and Cascade hop varieties from Goschie Farms in Silverton, Oregon.hops2

Goschie Farms grows over 500 acres of predominantly organic hops in the Willamette Valley, along with 600 more acres of grapes, corn and other crops. Their commitment to agricultural research together with Oregon State University means they are constantly moving to improve operations and help educate other growers and the craft brewing community.

One thing in particular about Goschie Farms that draws us to their delicious hops is their pioneering drive to become the first hop farm in the nation to be certified Salmon-Safe. Salmon-Safe certified farms use organic operations and biologically-based pest management to help protect water quality and local salmon logofish habitat. This program extends across the region with more than 60,000 acres of farm and urban land certified in the Pacific Northwest.

With a mission of saving the wild salmon population through transforming land management practices, Salmon-Safe works with farms, vineyards, college campuses, nurseries, parks, golf courses and more. We’re thrilled to source a portion of our hops from an Oregon farm involved in this beneficial and widely successful program! Other microbreweries in the state that source hops from Salmon-Safe certified farms include Full Sail in Hood River and Deschutes Brewing in Bend.

We know that Salmon-Safe is good for more than just the local salmon hops3population – healthy salmon represent a thriving environment and unsoiled waterways. In turn, we enjoy cleaner water for drinking and brewing craft beer. You can find Centennial and Cascade hops from Goschie Farms in our Amber Ale, I Heart Oregon Ale, Twin Plunge Double IPA and a handful of Seasonal Brews. Find out more about Salmon-Safe and where to find certified producers and growers on their website, and enjoy a Standing Stone brew to toast water wellbeing in the Pacific Northwest.

Is a Local Drumstick a Better Drumstick? We Think it is

Spring is in the air on our farm and brewpub, and we are breaking out of the farm entranceshell of restaurant norms and serving our own Standing Stone Farm chicken on our menu and specials board! This fresh start stems from our priority to source socially and environmentally responsible ingredients for our kitchen and brewery, and we’re especially proud to bring this delicious, local option to our beloved customers.

A little background: We started farming in October 2011, raising hens and cattle for restaurant eggs and beef on a 265-acre pasture just a few minutes down the road. These animals co-exist on the land using a rotational grazing system, in which the animal species follow each other in a pattern around the field to maximize land health and natural fertilization. Last spring, we startedtwo chickens raising more poultry for meat, too, and constructing an on-site poultry processing facility, completed in January 2013.

Our Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA)-licensed facility enables us to hatch, raise and process the chickens ourselves, and bring fresh and healthful protein straight from the farm to our kitchen. We hatch eggs from our existing flock and raise them outdoors on pasture before bringing them back to our poultry processing site to be prepared for kitchen use. This farm-to-menu chicken never travels further than one mile away in its lifetime!

Out in the field, we start our chicks on organic chicken feed from the time they hatch. They then graze freely on pasture, following the cows and sheep in a pattern around the field, and organic supplemental feed. The entire time it proc roomtakes to raise a full-grown chicken, from hatching to harvesting, is about 13 weeks, compared with 6 weeks for conventional chickens. These Heritage Breed birds are also physically capable of living healthy and naturally for years, compared with conventional chickens that are bred to live only a few weeks until processing.

Based on our menu needs, we will raise over 5,000 chickens a year to meet brewpub demands. Right now, we are the only restaurant in the state of Oregon to have our own processing facility as a resource, and quite possibly one of the first in the nation to have this operation on such a large scale. We are delighted to bring this fresh-food undertaking to Ashland, OR!

This new poultry-sourcing method is creating a big transformation in our kitchen. Our chicken recipes are starting in the field, and the food offerings are changing to reflect the meat that comes from smaller breed chickens, such as poultry cooked on-the-bone using more traditional methods. Our Chicken and Rosemary Noodle Soup now features our farm chickenchicken year-round, since the flavorful meat is great for roasting and boiling. There’s lots more adjustments to come with the operation launching into full swing early summer, so keep an eye on our upcoming new menu and specials board.

At Standing Stone, we all agree this whole practice certainly gives us a deeper respect for the food that goes onto our plates, and we feel it’s important to have a closer relationship with the meals on the table. We’re certain this is an all-around win-win for our brewpub, customers and community since the grazing system we use benefits the land and animals, our employees get to be involved in all the steps, and we are able to serve a fresh product that tastes delicious!

Pints for a Purpose: Call for 2012-2013 Applications

We’ve just completed the final round for our first year of Pints for a Purpose, our brewery’s latest version of our long-standing beer sales donation program. Now, we’re getting geared up for our next round spanning Fall 2012- Spring 2013, and accepting applications now through August 31st.

We’re happy to announce we’ve raised $1500 for local non-profits since the program began! Through this endeavor, we’ve donated a portion of specialty beer sales to five organizations in the Rogue Valley:

  • Mt. Ashland Give a Kid a Lift – seeking to give the opportunity for all kids to learn to ski or snowboard regardless of economic or physical challenges.
  • Ashland Independent Film Festival – focusing on presenting and growing independent film through an annual film festival, as well as cultural and educational events held throughout the year.
  • Rogue Valley Farm to School – educating children about our food system through hands-on farm and garden programs, and by increasing local foods in school meals.
  • Peace House – promoting non violence, public advocacy and civil action.
  • Bee Girl – preserving honeybees, beekeepers, and food resources by providing outreach, education, support, and mentorship for beekeepers and communities.     

This year we hope to welcome many more non-profits in Southern Oregon to be a part of Pints for a Purpose at Standing Stone. To qualify, we look for organizations with missions that align with our own, including enhancing environmental sustainability, supporting local food, providing education and involving our community. 

To apply, non-profit groups should fill out our form online on our Donations page.  Guidelines for recipients are as follows:

  • Recipients must be a registered 501c3 nonprofit
  • The nonprofit’s work must align with our mission to enhance environmental sustainability, local food, education and/or community.
  • Recipients must be locally based and benefit our community
  • We will not choose the same organization two years in a row to ensure we can benefit a wider range of relevant, worthy causes. Please apply only if you haven’t received funding from this program in the past year.
  • Recipients must be able and willing to promote the program and attend the kickoff to support their fundraising success.

With Pints for a Purpose, chosen nonprofits get 25 cents for every pint sold for three weeks. We also hold kickoff parties at our restaurant and brewery where we offer the opportunity for the organization to receive up to $1 per pint if over 50 pints are sold.

Here’s a little background on how it all began: All of our donation recipients applied last summer after we unveiled this refreshed twist on our previous donation program. After the applications were in, our staff of over 60 employees voted from the list for each round’s benefitting organization.

Thank you to all our recipients so far who have shown the energy and enthusiasm to make this program a success in its first year! And thank you to all our guests who have supported Pints for a Purpose through enjoying a pint of our specialty brews. Keep an eye out for our next round of benefiting beer coming soon, and join us in celebrating the great efforts of community organizations in our area.