Why organic beer?

Don Russell puts its this way in his weekly Joe Sixpack column:

You don’t drink organic beer because it’s healthier for you than conventional beer.

You drink it because it makes you feel better about your choices as just another depersonalized consumer in the world’s mammoth industrialized food production chain, a system that devalues labor, rapes the environment and enriches multinational agriculture conglomerates.

You might also insist that it taste good, but then supporting sustainable agriculture may already make it taste better to you.

Russell then examines if the fact that Anheuser-Busch is testing an organic beer, Wild Hop Lager, means a trend could be emerging. If A-B gets involved in organic then the ingredients available to those looking for organic beers will become much more easy to obtain – and we could see even more organic beers.

Just so they taste good.

5 Replies to “Why organic beer?”

  1. I think the real questions is why is AB going into the organic market? Do they care about:

    sustainable living
    the environment
    small farming

    No they don’t, they see an untapped market and they need to take advantage of it. They are trying anything and everything under the sun in order to take back the market share they are loosing to the craft brewers.

    This move even furthers my boycott on this industry giant.

    Biere de Table

    ps I am also an organic homebrewer.

  2. Chris – I don’t think Don’s point is to praise A-B’s entry into the organic area but to suggest it may make it easier for smaller players to get ingredients.

    In a way the onus is on consumers. We should recognize just as we are willing to pay more at our local growers market we should be willing to do the same when it comes to buying beer.

    Also, in fairness to A-B, the company does a lot of environmentally “green” things. When you brew half the beer in the United States you end up with plenty of spent grain and waste water so there are practical reasons, but they do point with some pride to their efforts.

    None of this changes your point, of course.


  3. AFA ingredients becoming “easier” to find/use because A-B is now making them popular, didn’t A-B attempt to corner the market on US grown hops a few years ago? Making it more difficult for micro-brewers (and home-brewers) to get some of the better varieties?


  4. I grow real organic wild hops at 6500′-10,000′ elev. They make great beer and medicine. This works small scale. ‘Real’ organic hop farmers are “grandfathered” by the rules and allowed to use treated posts in the hopyards- I am not. As for aphid control, ‘real’ organic hop farmers use systemic pesticides that persist for 5 years. This allows for the fourth and fifth years of ‘real’ organic production to be ‘organic’ by the rules. I am not allowed nor am I interested in long term systemic pesticides. The playing field is not level for organic hops production. The organic beer of AB does not have organic hops in it because the hops are less than 5% of the beer. The plants are not ‘wild’ hops, but it is a great name. Hops production is very chemically intensive in field growth. Hops in the wild need no human inputs and generally yield 6 oz.- 2# per plant. What hops would you want to use or grow- a domestic variety, a wild variety, organic produced variety, or conventionally produced variety? It’s less than 5% of the beer. Gotta love choices! Vote with your dollars.

  5. hey, I’ve been brewing commercial organic beer for 10 years. it is very difficult finding organic brewing materials. We pay a premium for all our ingrediants, when we can find them. I wish there were more supply. When AB or any other big brewer gets in the game, the supply is naturally going to go up, which helps the small brewers.

Comments are closed.