The Brewers for Clean Water campaign aims to protect the industry’s no. 1 ingredient: water. While hops and malt can be sourced elsewhere, breweries rely on their local water supplies — and the Clean Water Act, which protects the multi-billion dollar industry’s product from upstream pollution, the group says.
Campaign members include: Allagash Brewing Company (Portland, Maine), Arbor Brewing Company (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Arcadia Brewing Company (Battle Creek, Mich.), Brewery Vivant (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Central Waters Brewing Company (Amherst, Wis.), Cranker’s Brewery (Big Rapids, Mich.), DryHop Brewers (Chicago, Ill.), Finch’s Beer Company (Chicago, Ill.), Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery (Flossmoor, Ill.), Founders Brewing Company (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Goose Island Beer Company (Chicago, Ill.), Half Acre Beer Company (Chicago, Ill.), Harmony Brewing Company (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Lakefront Brewery (Milwaukee, Wis.), New Belgium Brewing Company (Fort Collins, Colo.), Revolution Brewing (Chicago, Ill.), Right Brain Brewery (Traverse City, Mich.), Short’s Brewing Company (Bellaire, Mich.), Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Chico, Calif.), Temperance Beer Company (Evanston, Ill.) and Wild Onion Brewing Company (Barrington, Ill).
In joining the campaign, the brewers have taken NRDC’s Clean Water Pledge, signaling to the Obama administration their support for tougher water pollution rules for certain wetlands and streams. Stronger Clean Water Act provisions would better protect about 2 million miles of streams and tens of millions of acres of wetlands, according to the NRDC.
The nonprofit says industry lobbyists have launched a public relations campaign to persuade Congress to block the EPA from finalizing the guidelines.
In addition to advocating for clean water, many of the craft brewers involved in the NRDC campaign have implemented energy-efficiency and other sustainability initiatives in the past few years. Last summer, the Arbor Brewing Co. made nearly $345,000 worth of energy efficiency improvements and solar system installations that will generate electricity and hot water, making the company the first solar-powered brewery in Michigan.
New Belgium Brewing is tied to Fort Collins’ smart grid, which allows it to pump power generated from its 200-kW solar array or natural gas-powered engine back into the grid. Sierra Nevada is another brewery that generates power from the sun.