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Please Drink Responsibly and Sustainably
This weekend is a holiday weekend and it’s no secret that people (but not all) like to drink alcoholic beverages on such occasions. When it comes to beer most drinkers don’t do much label reading because beer labels don’t have much information on them in the first place. The labels are required to have the Surgeon General’s warning, the alcohol content, and they have a little summary about the flavor the ingredients lend to the beer- to give customers an idea if they might like it.
There are beers that claim to be “organic.” That wonderful word that tells us we are living green and healthy. But isn’t beer inherently organic? We all know that beer is made of barley, hops, yeast, and mostly water. We know that brewing is an ancient practice not limited to one specific culture. Is there a difference between beer and organic beer? Yes and it has to do with the treatment of the ingredients and where they originate before they ever reach a bottle.
Modern farming tends to rely heavily on pesticides, chemicals, and creating artificial conditions to boost crop production. Mass market breweries may utilize these practices on their farms to meet demand. Small craft breweries often use ingredients that are farmed locally using sustainable practices. This means the chance of chemicals being transferred into the final product is lessened if not completely eliminated. Eliminating chemicals is good for the beer, the people who like to drink it, and for the environment. Sustainable farmers look to nature to tell them which plants thrive in the regional climate and local brewers use some of these ingredients in their beer.
California’s Eel River Brewing Company and Wisconsin’s Lakefront Brewery both brew certified organic beers. According to Lakefront’s website they are “one of the few breweries in the world to brew beer using 100% organic hops” and their Extra Special Bitter Ale or Organic ESB “is one of the few beers in the world to use only 100% organic hops and grains.”
Breweries interested in environmental stewardship are likely to take the concept beyond their beer. Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland, Ohio installed a twelve panel solar thermal system on the top of their brewery’s roof. They even have a shuttle bus they call the “Fatty Wagon” which runs on repurposed vegetable oil from their restaurant.
But let’s go back to the the organic label because it’s slightly imperfect. The Atlantic recently posted an article written by Barry Estabrook, a former contributing editor at Gourmet, about the USDA organic label. He wrote, “According to USDA rules, if 95 percent of a product is made up of organic ingredients, it can be called organic. If it's 70 percent organic, the label can read ‘made with organic ingredients.’ This disheartening information isn’t meant to imply that beers, other beverages, and food carrying the USDA organic label are being deceitful. After all, 95% is a healthy percentage but it’s not optimal. Mr. Estabrook hopes new members appointed to the National Organics Standards Board can change policies for the better.
If 95% isn’t organic enough you can always manage the supply chain yourself and brew in your garage or basement with a home brewing kit. Sustainability begins at home maybe it’s time for your beer to start there too.
1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.
1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.
2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.