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It’s about doing better.

It may not be the easiest path but someone has to step up.

Lost Grove Brewing has been designated a Certified B Corporation, an achievement earned by for-profit companies dedicated to using their businesses as a force for good. Lost Grove is the first brewery in Idaho and the 19th brewery nationwide to earn this designation.

“Since we opened our doors four years ago, Lost Grove has focused on sustainability, social responsibility, community, and, of course, great beer,” said Lost Grove owner Jake Black in a press release. “It has been a dream of ours to become a B Corp and earning this status helps us share our passion and commitment for doing good in our community. We are so proud to officially become a Certified B Corporation.”

Earning a B Corp certification is no easy task. A business has to meet the verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability to all of its stakeholders. It’s a rigorous process where the businesses that apply are reviewed on environmental impact, community contributions, workplace practices and the legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. After taking a B Impact Assessment test, the business must score 80 or above to get certified, according to B Corp.

There are 4,450 companies across 76 countries that have earned a B Corp certification. The nonprofit network started in 2006 with the aim to have higher standards for businesses with an emphasis on addressing society’s most critical challenges.

“A lot of times it’s easier or cheaper to do it some other way but we knew it has to be this way,” said Lost Grove general manager Kylie Bolland in a phone interview.

Lost Grove was awarded the certification on Dec. 22, 2021. Other C Corp certified companies in Idaho include Warm Springs Consulting LLC, Treefort Music Fest and Lovevery. To pass the certification process, Lost Grove was tested on its impact on the community and environment; in addition, an interview was conducted to see if the business was approved.

B Corp certification isn’t a benefit corporation, but it is a mission-based certification, Bolland said.

“Once I started learning about B Corp, it’s influenced my decision when buying things,” she said.

Since Lost Grove opened near downtown Boise at 1026 S. La Pointe St. in October 2017, the brewery has strived for ethical employment practices, raised money for local nonprofits through its Powerful Pints program and worked toward becoming carbon neutral.

In 2021, Lost Grove installed solar panels on its patio bar. That allowed the outdoor bar and cooler to be powered entirely by solar power, a step for the brewery to become more environmentally friendly. In past years, Lost Grove joined a pilot project to brew beer with reused wastewater, provided input on Boise’s new Water Renewal Utility Plan, supported fundraising efforts as part of the Idaho River United’s Brewshed Alliance and joined the Brewers for Clean Water campaign to show support to strengthen the waterways that provide drinking water.

“With climate change and social issues, with the last two years especially, we need beacons of hope,” Bolland said. “What I love is it’s a formal statement to do better.”

Before trying to change the world at large, Lost Grove wanted to create a safe environment for employees. In 2021, Black raised all staff’s wages to meet the living wage standard for Ada County as calculated by MIT. Employees were reimbursed for up to 120 hours of volunteer work per year, and Black provided incentives for using alternative transportation and full-time staff were given 25 vacation days per year. In addition, staff was provided training and resources regarding sexual harassment prevention in the workplace. The company aims to offer health care support and 401k options to employees in the coming years.

Since 2018, the brewery has supported nonprofits through the Powerful Pints program: every month a local nonprofit is highlighted and Lost Grove raises funds and awareness. Each year, Lost Grove hosts a BFF Block Party, which raises money for nonprofits during the Idaho Gives campaign. All Powerful Pint partners are invited to this celebration as an additional avenue for awareness and fundraising.

During the B Corp assessment, Lost Grove scored highest in benefiting its community, Bolland said. Instead of spending money on marketing, Lost Grove chose to give back to the community and, hopefully, have word of mouth spread the word on the brewery, she said.

“We just want to keep doing better. There are ways we can still be better,” Bolland said. “I hope this encourages other businesses to do this. It helps write our handbook and provide a backbone for our business.”

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