The cooking area at Standing Stone features venting hoods that regulates fan speeds based on how much heat is being produced. A wood-fired oven, a skylight and light fixtures with compact fluorescent light bulbs help cut down on energy use. Jim Craven 1/3/2008 - Jim Craven

Standing Stone No. 2 on green list

ASHLAND — From the rooftop solar panels to the rack of bikes employees pedal to work to the flair for organic local fare, Standing Stone Brewing Co. does things in a decidedly green fashion.

So it's little surprise the Ashland brewery and restaurant edged closer to the top in Oregon Business Magazine's latest 100 Best Green Companies in Oregon list.

The 14-year-old establishment operated by co-founder Alex Amarotico on Oak Street moved up one notch to No. 2 in the latest rankings appearing in the magazine's June edition.

There is no designed pursuit of such accolades, but there is a distinct mind-set, Amarotico said. The magazine compiles data from employee surveys to establish its rankings. The company with 60 employees was joined by Rogue Creamery of Central Point, No. 14, and Adroit Construction of Ashland, No. 84, on the list. Oregon City commercial real estate firm Redside topped the list with a 297.8 score, while Standing Stone compiled 292.67 points

"It's a barometer of what the people working here are about," Amarotico said. "There might be some more-deserving business but this is about what their employees think. More than being on the list, I'm happy we could get Southern Oregon on the list."

The company established itself as bicycle friendly years ago when it started providing free wheels to employees with 1,000 hours of service and the commitment to cycle to work 45 days. "We watch our energy usage and where we buy products — local vs. afar," Amarotico said. "Obviously, the transportation our guests use we can't control."

Early in Standing Stone's history, Amarotico set the pace for his sustainable approach to operations. As time wore on, the attitude rubbed off on his staff.

"The No. 1 thing we have found in pushing forward and being successful is that it has to come from within the team members working every day and saying this is what you want to do," he said. "If employees don't buy in, nothing happens. With the type of people who apply here, I've gone from being the ringleader to having employees taking the lead."

One example is the organically grown food served.

"Buying organic is definitely more expensive than conventional food," Amarotico said. "Having a chef that's really into it makes a difference. If he didn't have the drive or motivation then it would be easier to go for conventional things off the shelf."

The Best Green Companies is an offshoot of Oregon Business Magazine's 100 Best Companies list. It takes into consideration responses from 19,000 employees at 415 companies and nonprofits.

"When it first appeared three years ago, we had no idea the list was being created," Amarotico said.

Rogue Creamery moved up eight spots this year, while Adroit Construction wasn't previously ranked.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email

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