Something fishy is in the waters around Toledo, OH that is causing a tide of problems for coastal communities. Algae blooms, which affect many coasts of the United States, are on the rise, threatening both residents and businesses with harmful levels of toxins. This health hazard is causing a local brewery to raise awareness the best way they know how: by crafting beer. Beginning last November, the Maumee Bay Brewing Company has been releasing a seasonal batch of their Green Craze to bring light on the ever-increasing algal blooms threatening many coastal communities like Toledo. “We’re going to keep doing this until the algae bloom isn’t there anymore,” brewery manager Craig Kerr said in an interview. “The goal is to never make this beer again.” Called “Creature From The Algae Bloom”, the green brew is a 7.5% ABV, 35IBU sour double IPA brewed with matcha tea and kiwis.
Maumee Bay isn’t the only brewery clamoring for action, as many others are joining forces to raise awareness for clean water preservation. A league of eight breweries in and around Baltimore, Maryland recently teamed up with environmental activists and created the “Cheers to Clean Water” Cleanup. The inaugural event highlighted both watershed clean-up efforts in the Chesapeake Bay area and, of course, amazing beer. Hosted by Blue Water Baltimore, Trash Free Maryland, and the Brewers Association of Maryland, the event brought together local beer artisans and volunteers to clean-up trash around Baltimore while learning how to better mediate their environmental footprint. Volunteers gained credits toward their stormwater utility fee and were given vouchers from the eight breweries, making it a win for the people, the beer, and the environment.
Even though water pollution has the potential to cause issues for every business, breweries are especially susceptible due to how important water is in the brewing process.Take away all the grains, hops, and yeast and you will find that water makes up over 90% of our favorite beverage. This reason, among others, has persuaded certain breweries enough to start lobbying for environmental regulations to preserve clean, accessible water. One example is New Belgium Brewing Company located in Fort Collins, Colorado. Among their Belgian-inspired brews, New Belgium is also known for their contributions toward various non-profit groups working on water protection and conservation projects. Since their founding in 1991, New Belgium has donated nearly $16 million. In August of 2014, New Belgium entered the political stage as they created their own political action committee (PAC) to gain both public and governmental support. “We didn’t ask politics to get involved in beer,” said Katie Wallace, New Belgium’s assistant director of sustainability. “But they did when our No. 1 ingredient is being threatened.”