If you like your beer, you’d better care about water and forests.
That’s the message of the OktoberForest
campaign from the Nature Conservancy
and 77 breweries from across the nation — 14 from Virginia, including the Richmond area. Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Trapezium Brewing Co., Triple Crossing Brewing Co. and Väsen Brewing Co., plus Blue Bee Cider will participate. The nonprofit works to address some of the world’s most pressing conservation threats. It protects and conserves ecologically significant land and waters.
Since beer is about 95 percent water and 50 percent of America’s water comes from forests, the connection is clear. Forests protect and improve water by capturing rainfall and snowmelt, filtering out pollutants and sediment, and reducing soil erosion. Yet forests face threats from disease, pests, drought, fire and climate change. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that about half of its forested lands need restoration.
“The importance of water to our industry and the fact that states out west are already dealing with water issues makes the awareness factor that much more important,” says Nate Winters, marketing and environmental director at Väsen. “It starts with awareness, but taking action to protect these important resources is the next step. …We are working toward being a zero-waste designation brewery.”
At its new West Creek location, Hardywood representative Margo Fairchild says, “The property has achieved Certified Wildlife Habitat classification by the National Wildlife Federation, and Hardywood is pursuing Envision Gold rating for the project. The beautiful and diverse ecology has inspired us to incorporate reforestation into the next phases of our development.”
How to Participate
On Oct. 21, from noon to 5 p.m., the Nature Conservancy is participating in Science on Tap at the Science Museum of Virginia
. Guests are invited to stop by their display to learn more about the connection between forests, water and beer.
Plus, the OktoberForest campaign’s website includes interactive features
linking breweries and environmental issues. The map marks breweries and the health of their surrounding environment. For instance, did you know that 13.51 percent of the James River watershed around Richmond breweries is impaired or at risk? And the quiz also poses thought-provoking questions: Can you guess how many gallons of water it takes to make one gallon of beer?
The website also includes action items, such as contacting your government representatives to support a comprehensive wildfire funding fix to protect American homes, lands and wildlife. Given the fires that are still burning in California, you might want to move that to the top of the list.
Participating OktoberForest breweries have a dedicated page on the Nature Conservancy’s website that highlights their commitment to environmental protection.