Organic Hops for Organic Beer
Government doesn't usually get credit when it does things right, so I'd like to share a looming success story you should keep your eye on. The government has actually created a marketplace for organic hops where one did not exist before.
Their actions benefited consumers, farmers, the environment, and brewers like myself. Until the USDA stepped in, only a few varieties of organic hops from Europe and New Zealand were available in the US to brew organic beers. Now that the domestic (and international) organic hop market has developed, beginning January 1, 2013, the USDA phases out their exemption so that brewers who use the USDA Organic Logo must use 100 percent organic hops. Today, if certain hops are not available commercially, a brewer either needs to use whatever is available, or use the exemption to use non-organic hops in an organic-labeled-beer.
People deserve organic ingredients in organically certified beer. It is not only a matter of truth in labeling, but also a matter of what is best for consumers, the environment, and for sustainable agriculture. Organic agriculture is free of chemicals that have been linked to various types of cancers. Patrick Smith of Loftus Ranch (Yakima, Washington) and other farmers are working diligently to close the gap for organic crop yields. Smith explains: "As our collective knowledge of organic hop production grows, I expect to see yields 75-80+ percent of conventional." As the soil fertility improves, crop yields improve without relying on conventional agriculture's chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides.
Hops and beer image via Shutterstock.
Article continues at ENN Affiliate, TriplePundit.