When shopping for beer, most people factor the name, flavor, packaging and price into their decision. These are all undeniably important, however, we should take care to consider the ingredients used to produce our favorite brews. Beer is an item we purchase to consume, and we should hold it to the same high standards we look for in the food we eat. The USDA standards for organic beer are the same as those for organic foods: ingredients must be grown without toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers in soil free from chemicals for at least three years, and they may not use genetically modified ingredients. GMOs are common in conventional beer production, which often includes genetically modified corn.
Not only is organic important for the health of humans, it is important for the health of the planet. Organic farmers avoid exposing themselves to pesticide and petrochemical fertilizer exposure, at the same time preventing agricultural runoff, and dangers to wildlife and our ecosystem. Organic farming practices ensure the health of our microclimates as well as organisms in the soil. One of the biggest incentives to drink organic is rooted in the deep satisfaction of knowing that you’re not placing an added burden on the environment, and that you are committed to sustainable agriculture and the well-being of the planet.
Years ago, organic beers were fairly prevalent, but when consumers seemingly lost interest in organic beer, many organic craft breweries started to disappear. Some of these breweries switched to less expensive, conventional production, while others simply shut down. Producing organic beer can be a costly endeavor; organic hops and malt can cost 40% more than their conventional counterparts. Because of the cost associated with producing organic beer, and the apparent lack of customer interest, beer distributors have not prioritized organic products in their offerings. While Good Earth has adamantly expressed our desire to see more organic selections from our distributors, we need the help of our customers in demanding the same thing. If your favorite beer isn’t organic, please consider encouraging the brewers to look into organic ingredients and certification.
We currently work with smaller producers such as Eel River Brewing Company, Samuel Smith, Pinkus, Foret and Hopworks Urban Brewery to provide our customers with quality organic beer options, and we are passionate about expanding this selection. If you come across an organic beer that you love, please let our Specialty Department know about it.
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