Organic-Beer

Organic Beer: Saving the World, One Pint at a Time

By Alan Winters | Urban Agriculture
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Pitfield Brewery’s Eco Warrior organic beer. Image Courtesy Tom Rafferty via Flickr.

What if I told you that you could save the environment, increase the amount of organic products you ingest, invest in your local economy and drink doing it?

“Finally!” some of you may exclaim, “A way my shameless inebriation can benefit others! Teach me your ways, oh wise one.”

Well calm down and let me explain. The green movement (you may have heard of it) has been around for decades and with it industries have seen a new avenue of expanding their markets for a new type of consumer. Some have begun offering organic options, produced using sustainable methods, to already well established products. The beer industry is no different. Many breweries across the world, big and small, now offer organic beers. And they’re delicious.

Organic Beer

So what does it take to be an organic beer? Well, first off, in order for a product to be considered organic, they must be certified by the governing authority just like any other organic product.  Depending on which province, state, territory, protectorate or holy kingdom from which the brewery hails, each have their own certification processes in order to deem them worthy of placing the coveted “organic” term on the label. While the certification standard may differ slightly based on the brewery’s point of origin, the organic industry is a highly regulated one and at least maintains the standard of having products grown, stored, processed, packaged and shipped without the use of genetically modified organisms (or GMO’s, as they are infamously abbreviated), irradiation, sewage sludge, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers or additives. Please note that while ingredients do not have to be grown locally, many breweries do so in order to have not only fresh ingredients, but they also give back to the local economy. In order to ensure breweries are following the standard set by the governing authority, the company must first be inspected and approved by a third party organization accredited by the governing authority. This third party inspects every detail of the process: from the growing, harvesting and transport of the hops, yeast, barley and any other ingredients, to the purification of the water, to the actual brewing of the beer. Once they have approved the beer as organic, the brewery must then create an audit trail detailing all steps taken during the brewing process. So whenever you see “organic” on your beer label, you can rest assured that the brewery from whence that brewski came had to jump through some serious hoops to get you the product you want.

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Organic hops for organic beer. Image Courtesy MyEssentia.com

Sustainability

While the final product you’re ingesting is probably your primary concern, let’s not forget another important part of being green: sustainability. Green breweries make the conscious effort to leave as little impact on the environment as possible. Some breweries take the direct approach, using spent grain to feed cattle for organic beef  or using high efficiency, renewable energy to power their brewery (and even going so far as to show you how much power is being used on their website). Some companies may take an indirect approach, like funding green initiatives in their local area in order to promote an eco-friendly culture. And still others do almost everything possible to create a brewery dedicated to being eco-friendly, leading by example and encouraging others to do the same.

So while drinking organic beers might not channel your drunken strength to Al Gore and his endless crusade, you can still feel a little better about yourself for drinking it. Whether you’re sitting in a pub watching the game while having a pint from your local organic micro-brewery or doing a keg stand on a 30% more reusable keg that was washed by a brewery’s private water purifier, give yourself a pat on the back. Your drunken debauchery is making progress towards a cleaner world.

Extra: Depending on where you live, you may have a micro-brewery in your local area dedicated to brewing organic beer or using sustainable brewing methods. I encourage you to comment on this article or on the forum and tell us about them. It helps the green community grow and encourages our other readers to try something new.

Feature Image: Organic Beer via Living Green Magazine.

About The Author

Alan Winters
Alan Winters is an independent writer/professional human male from Vancouver Island, British Columbia. In his spare time he enjoys thinking up new ways to deliver sarcasm in the written word. And cat memes.