Friday, 22 April 2011 12:18

Drink Organic on Earth Day

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". . . on April 22, 1970, Earth Day was held, one of the most remarkable happenings in the history of democracy. . . "  -American Heritage Magazine, October 1993

April 22nd constitutes an eco-inspired, sustainable, contempt of carbon, plant protecting, Gaylord Nelson loving, breathing creature appreciating, tree hugging, holiday - that everyone can celebrate.

As we continue to celebrate Earth Day, we pay more attention to the way our food & drink are grown, harvested, brewed and transported.  One only needs to look down the pint they are grasping to see how breweries are joining the sustainability movement. Beer is the third most consumed beverage in the world behind water and tea...and for some, (okay, fine.) the first.

Environmentally-conscientious breweries are becoming easier to find and the following breweries have found ways to stay true to their roots – pun intended - while limiting their impact on the environment.

New Belgium Beer: This Colorado brewer takes a multilateral green approach. Their mission statement is "to operate a profitable company which is socially, ethically and environmentally responsible, that produces high quality beer true to Belgian brewing styles." In 1999 New Belgium became the first wind-powered brewery in the country as well as the largest private consumer of wind-powered electricity. As their website states, they abide by the following principles:

- Lovingly care for the planet that sustains us.
- Honor natural resources by closing the loops between waste and input.
- Minimize the environmental impact of shipping our beer.
- Reduce our dependence on coal-fired electricity.
- Protect our precious Rocky Mountain water resources.
- Focus our efforts on conservation and efficiency.
- Support innovative technology.
- Model joyful environmentalism through our commitment to relationships, continuous improvement, and the camaraderie and cheer of beer

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company: Another excellent model for how well sustainability works in practice is Sierra Nevada, the 10th largest brewery in the United States. Sierra Nevada, based in Chico, California, uses green suppliers whenever possible. It buys materials that are biodegradable and recyclable. Sierra Nevada uses fuel cell technology to power their brewing and has won California’s highest award for waste reduction.  Providing the company a highly efficient energy source, it has almost no environment footprint.   Their website states that in 2006, they diverted 97% of their total waste from landfills through a combination of waste reduction and creative recycling. Cheers to that!  Sierra Nevada also recovers both steam heat and carbon dioxide for reuse in the facility. Like the other eco-minded breweries, Sierra Nevada treats and reclaims its wastewater and sends its spent mash to local farms. Sierra Nevada is the largest buyer of organic hops in the country, and established a “Farm with your Brewer” program to encourage small hops farmers to adopt sustainable practices.

Sierra Nevada Brewing was also named the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Business of the Year last year!

With their new Sierra Unplug, they are donating to various environmental organizations, such as the American SOLAR Energy Society and Rails-to-Trails.

Not sure what Beers and Breweries are considered Organic? Here’s a list of USDA approved Organic Breweries:

Want to buy organic beers but don’t have access to them in your area? Brewforia has the following organic beers available for you to order online!

1.       Green Lakes Organic Ale by Deschutes Brewery

2.       Fish Brewery 

3.       Bison (IPA, Chocolate Stout & a Seasonal)

4.       Snake River (OB-1)

5.       New Belgium (Mothership Wit) 

Reduce your environmental footprint on the 22nd. Hide your roommate’s car keys, call in sick to work, plant something in the backyard and drink organic. Wanna’ take it a step further?  Save some electrons. Drink your organic beer by candlelight!  But more importantly, the spirit should live on much longer than the 24 hours appointed on the 22nd.

Help to save the planet. It’s the only one I know of with beer.

Cheers!

Image: seattletimes.nwsource.com

 

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