PORTLAND, MAINE, Dec. 3, 2013 -- The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is partnering with a half dozen of the state of Maine's craft brewers to launch a campaign advocating for strong clean water safeguards.
Called "Brewers for Clean Water," the statewide movement was established to help translate the successful economic growth of the craft brewing sector into a powerful voice on behalf of clean water protections in the United States.
"Whether brewers are creating ales, pilsners, porters, wits, or stouts, one ingredient must go into every batch: clean water," said NRDC Water Program Senior Policy Analyst Karen Hobbs. "Craft brewers need clean water to make great beer. This campaign is all about amplifying their voices in support of their most important ingredient's most important protection -- the Clean Water Act (CWA)."
Few industries depend on clean water as much as craft brewers. While hops and malt can be sourced elsewhere, breweries are reliant on their local water supplies. Whether drawn from lakes, rivers, groundwater, or a local water system, breweries rely on the protections of the CWA to ensure the quality and availability of their main ingredient (beer is 90 percent water).
"As we continue to see the craft beer segment grow, we as brewers owe it to the communities we live, work and play in to be mindful of protecting our waterways as we strive for growth that is environmentally and socially responsible now and down the road," said Mat Trogner of Allagash Brewing Company.
In recent years, attempts to reduce CWA protections have endangered not just the most important ingredient for craft beer but also public health and resources for a wide range of industries. In joining the campaign, the brewers take NRDC's "Clean Water Pledge," acknowledging the importance of clean water and clean water safeguards. Further, several Maine brewers called on President Obama to advance long-delayed safeguards under the CWA protecting American streams, wetlands and headwaters (which have a significant impact on larger water sources downstream).
The reach of the craft brewing industry has grown immensely in recent years. With more breweries than any other time in American history, the multi-billion dollar industry brings a compelling business voice to clean water issues. Craft brewers are closely tied to their communities with a very real understanding of the impacts bad policy can have on regional water sources. While the participants in the growing "Brewers for Clean Water" campaign include brewing operations large and small, all are also committed to sustainability in their operations and beer development.