"Make Mine Organic"
This month column was written by Bob's friend
When I home brew I always use organic ingredients and when
buying beer go for organic ones when possible. If I can get the
same flavor from organic as from regular beers it makes sense to be
as healthy as possible. However, to be honest there aren't many
good organic brews in the marketplace but there's good news on the
Northwest farmers have begun planting new varieties hops and are
working with researchers to develop ways to grow their crop without
pesticides. The movement stems from a federal decision last year
requiring brewers who label their beer as organic to use organic
hops beginning in 2013. The problem is that brewers can (until
2013) actually market their beer as organic even if they used
conventional hops! The government bought the brewers argument
that organic hops simply weren't available. Not right in my view.
The new laws will ultimately mean that people who want to buy
organic beer will find more choice in the beer aisle, though they
might have to pay a few cents extra per bottle.
The organic beer market is still relatively small, but it's definitely
catching on just like a few years ago when organic cosmetics and
body products were a niche and now are fairly mainstream. Across
the board, no matter what the product there's increasing demand for
The U.S. is the world's second largest producer of hops, behind
Germany, with more than a quarter of the world crop. Most are
grown in the Northwest – where the craft beer movement hatched.
In central Washington's Yakima Valley. It's an area that is home to
thousands of acres of crops from apples to mint. Now some are
moving to growing organic hops.
Without chemicals, pests such as mites and aphids can damage the
hop crop and reduce yields. Alternative methods to controlling pests
also tend to be more expensive, making the organic crop costlier to
produce. Still, it's worth it to me.
Brewers complain that organic hops can be anywhere from 30
percent to 50 percent more expensive, so many say that even if they
could buy organic hops, they would still opt for conventional varieties.
According to the Organic Consumers Association, organic beer
accounts for only about $50 million of the overall $7 billion craft beer
market, but the figure continues to steadily grow.
I'd like to thank Bob for letting me write this month's column. By the
way I've seen Bob drink and organic beer or two so I'm counting him
as a member of my crusade for organic beer. Hope you join us!
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Bob and Friends Speak of Beer......
My thanks to Larry for this month's
column. See you next time to
"speak about beer".
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column? Just e-mail your article to Bob HERE.