What's in a beer? Apparently a lot, especially given the amount of lip service given to the patriotic merits of the beers chosen during President Obama's "beer summit" over the arrest of Dr. Henry Louis Gates. But amidst all the brew-ha-ha about how "American" the beer was, where was the discourse on how sustainable these suds were?
According to Greenopia, which recently released a comprehensive rating of the environmental impact of 15 of the largest breweries in the world, the President and his guests would have made both a green and patriotic statement by sipping on beers from New Belgium Brewery and Eel River. Both American Breweries took top honors in the Greenopia ranking, with New Belgium receiving four leaves (out of a possible four) and Eel River receiving three leaves.
New Belgium, makers of Fat Tire, source their packaging locally, use only organic ingredients, and use renewable energy to power their pints. Eel River makes porters, stouts and IPAs from organic ingredients, and the company runs on biogas.
Beer production often requires 7-10 liters of water for every liter of beer, and its key ingredients are often difficult to obtain through organic means, which has brought the environmental concerns surrounding beer production to the forefront. "We have found that the large amount of resources that go into beer production is not common knowledge," said Doug Mazeffa, Greenopia's research director.
Greenopia used a comprehensive set of criteria to determine the beer company ratings, including growing practices of the barley, malt and hops; transportation of the beer; brewery production efficiencies; and attributes of the beer packaging.
As for the president and his guest's picks, Obama's Bud Light from Anheuser-Busch (which interestingly is no longer an American-owned company) took home a modest one leaf on the ranking. Officer Crowley's choice, a Blue Moon brewed by another beer giant, Molson-Coors (also partially foreign-owned) took home no leaves, and neither did the Sam Adams chosen by Professor Gates (although it is brewed in Boston). Ever the independent spirit, Vice President Biden sidestepped the peer pressure by sipping on a non-alcoholic brew.
See where your favorite brew ranked here: Greenopia Beer Ranking Guide.
About Greenopia: The leading online directory for green, sustainable and socially conscious, daily purchase decisions. Greenopia provides the market's only independent rating and ranking of green services and products. Our rankings and ratings are based on our review of publicly available information and reflect our evaluation of such information.
Ayana Meade is an assistant editor for Greenopia.
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