Why Brew Organic?
Until the 19th century, all beer was organic. Sadly, chemical fertilizers and pesticides are now the norm in barley and hop production. The Pinkus-Mueller brewery in Muenster, Germany brewed the world’s first contemporary organic beer in 1980, as the brewmaster was concerned with the declining quality of malting barley grown with chemical fertilizers. Organic beer made its debut in the US in the mid 1990s and has grown by leaps and bounds since then to a more than $79 million market in the US.
There are many reasons for brewing organic. By using organic ingredients, brewers can better control what goes into their beer. Even trace residues of toxins present in the barley, hops, water, yeast, or adjuncts used to make beer can have an ill effect on one’s health, especially over a long period of exposure. Many of the chemicals used in agriculture and food processing are known to be toxic. Traces of these toxins are sometimes found in the food that is grown, and many more migrate through the food chain and are found in meats, seafood, and dairy products.
In agricultural areas, many of the chemicals sprayed on the crops eventually filter into the ground water. Concentrations of agricultural toxins in the water supply have been found to be dangerously high in some communities. Conventional growers of barley and hops use chemical fertilizers and pesticides just as other farmers do. Studies have shown that many of the chemicals used by farmers can cause serious health problems such as cancer, reproductive disorders, respiratory ailments, and allergies.
Today’s agriculture relies heavily on chemicals and often causes erosion and depletion of soil nutrients through loss of biomass. Organic farming is a growing industry that reduces erosion, pollution, and water shortages by using natural methods to fertilize crops and to fight pests and disease. A well-established organic farm can often produce higher yields than a conventional farm. Organic farming is typically more labor intensive and provides more agricultural jobs per acre than conventional farming. Workers on organic farms are also safe from the health hazards of working with pesticides and herbicides.
Brewing organic supports organic farmers worldwide, and contributes to a growing demand for organic products. This provides the funding to convert more farmland from conventional, chemically intensive farming practices into soil conserving, environmentally sustainable organic cropland.
By using organic ingredients, brewers produce a beer with the highest possible purity while supporting the growing industry of organic farming. Each consumer that switches to organic contributes to the amount of land that is farmed in a chemical free, sustainable manner.