The Northern Brewer Philosophy:
Northern Brewer is a homebrewing company. If you're reading this, you probably already know (or at least suspect) that homebrewing is a fun, engaging hobby and/or way of life. Just as many thousands of others do, Northern Brewer employees repeat the mantra "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew" while practicing the hobby of homebrewing; but at work we strive for a totally different approach to the business of homebrewing: don't relax, don't settle, continue to improve. Our employees and managers come to work every day with a commitment to be the best in the industry, period. Someday we want homebrewing to be as common a household craft in America as vegetable gardening, and we know that our hobby/craft/shared passion/obsession won't get there through complacency.
We Believe In:
The future of homebrewing
We didn't open six months ago to make a quick buck off a hobby that's trendy right now; we are interested in the long-term health of homebrewing in America. We dedicate a significant percentage of our profits to give back to the community and to create new homebrewers. When you shop with Northern Brewer, you are helping to make an investment in the future of homebrewing. Check out Northern Brewer's history.
Northern Brewer has been serving homebrewers and winemakers for over 22 years, and we aren't going anywhere. Rock-bottom, fire-sale price structures are unsustainable and create an uneven playing field that ultimately hurts the industry, hobby, and the community. Our price structure is competitive but built around sustainability, because our goal is to grow homebrewing as a hobby and industry, which will benefit the consumer by sustainable lower prices and improved selection through increased demand.
Treating employees well
Northern Brewer's employees enjoy great benefits and quality-of-life labor practices (just a few examples: bike-friendly warehouse; competitive industry-standard pay rates; matching IRA contributions; paid parental leave; excellent benefits package; and a kegerator in the break room) because a happy, long-term employee in a holistic, humanist work environment equals a quality experience for the customer.
We want to make the homebrewing world a better place. Every year, Northern Brewer donates thousands of dollars in prizes to different homebrew competitions and beer festivals across the country; every year we also dedicate a lot of capital to provide and maintain resources and information (forum, videos, documentation, speakers like Jamil Zainasheff and John Blichmann, etc.) free of charge, to any and all homebrewers, winemakers, and beverage enthusiasts.
The idea of a homebrew community
Talking about brewing is almost as fun as brewing; having a beer while talking about brewing gives it a run for its money. We believe this conversation is important, ongoing, dynamic, and bridges the gaps of age, gender, politics, etc. Between sponsorships (National Homebrew Conference, WineMaker magazine conference, the Brewing Network, etc.), advocacy (the AHA governing committee), and bringing homebrew to the masses (classes, demonstrations, competitions, beer festivals, and advertising outside hobby publications), Northern Brewer has been in the thick of it since 1993.
"No man [or homebrew shop] is an island," and "we're all in this together," as John Donne and Red Green said, respectively. Northern Brewer and its employees give thousands to causes including Haiti earthquake relief, Feeding America and Pints for Prostates.
Just like any other mail order company, we use a lot of power, we use a lot of paper, we use a lot of plastic, and it takes a lot of fuel to get goods from point A to point B. Having said that, we actively look for and implement new ways to reduce our impact on the planet:
- Our catalogs are printed on FSC certified paper
- We recycle all of our cardboard, even though it's cheaper to throw it out
- Inflatable cushioning used to pack orders reduces the amount of fuel used transporting the cushioning to our warehouse – one pallet inflates to a truckload's worth of pre-inflated cushions. The cushions can be reused, or deflated to reduce space used in a landfill.
- The paper cushioning used to pack orders is made from 100% recycled fibers – 85% post-industrial and 15% post-consumer recovered. It can be recycled in your home with mixed paper.
- The padded mailers used to pack orders are produced from post-consumer recycled fibers and can also be recycled with mixed paper.
- We offer incentives for employees who commute by bike or carpool.