Last night, I was picking up a few groceries at the Fine Fair supermarket at 106th and 3rd: cheese, organic milk, and some beers. Cara and I are not a big beer drinkers so my plan was to get a pack of Mike’s Lemonade and some Coronas…
Before heading to the register, I noticed some organic beers: Peak Organic. We know that “by 2009, the European and US organic food and drinks market will be worth at least $49.2bn” (Source: Food Science Central). Organic alcohol, hum why not. Are alcohol companies also embracing the organic revolution? According to many sources, the Organic Beverages market has increased of 13% from 2006 to 2007.
Definition of “Organic”: Involving the use of fertilizers or pesticides that are strictly of animal or vegetable origin. Raised or conducted without the use of drugs, hormones, or synthetic chemicals.
I am from France, and from 14 years old to my 18 years and a half birthday, I was living in Bordeaux; the best wine region in the whole world. Pardon my chauvinism… So what about these awesome wines I know? Are they organic, or grown with pesticides and other disgusting chemicals? Let’s look at Château Margaux, one of the finest wines in the world.
According to their website, until the 80s, they were in fact using chemicals, but starting from that time, they decided to change things around and to care about the environment.
“After a number of years of patient work and calculated risks, we have come back to a stable situation in which all these populations live together and self-regulate, without it almost ever being necessary for us to intervene, and if we do so, then an environmentally-friendly solution is used. Nature is indulgent, provided we show it a little respect …”
When looking at organic viticulture, there are 3 ways of going about it. I am going to translate and paraphrase from a French website:
The Reasoned Viticulture
The Objective is to limit interventions by choosing the right time, limiting used molecules to the most ecologic ones and to reduce doses. Here, you can use any product available on the market.
The Organic Viticulture
No chemical molecule can be used. The objective is to push for a balance between the different diseases and insects from the vineyard.
The Biodynamic Viticulture
In addition to the notions related to organic viticulture, the idea is to boost the vineyard helping it to resist by itself to outside aggressions (diseases, insects, etc) through natural products used at homeopathic doses, such as nettle or horsetail, while choosing the right time for each action made on the vineyard.
For more information on organic wines, you can check The Organic Wine Journal.
I hope by now you are getting thirsty for some organic alcohols. So let’s go have a good time, drink healthy beverages and protect our little planet. Below, some ideas for you to get local organic beverages. Hum I said local? Chateau Margaux was an horrible example in regards to carbon footprint. We are very limited with alcohols: Beers, Spirit and especially Wines and Champagnes. I will never find a local Chateau Margaux like wine in New York… as it involves not only the making techniques, the age of the vineyard but also the ground and weather :(
- Click here to find local beer makers.
- Learn how to brew your own beer at Brew Organic!
- Beer Brands: Anheuser Busch, Butte Creek Brewing Co., Goose Island Beer Co., Peak Organic, Wolavers.
- West Coast Beer Brands: Bison Brewing, Crannog Ales, Eel River, Fish Brewing Company, Hawk’s Brewery, Pacific Western Brewing.
- Midwest Beer Brands: Kraftbrau Brewery, Lakefront Brewery.
Organic Spirits / Liquors
- Cognac: Organic Spirit.
- Gin: CapRock, Juniper Green.
- Tequila: 4 Copas Tequila, Purus.
- Vodka: CapRock, Orange V, Rain Vodka, Square One Vodka.
- Whiskey: Benromach Organic.
And if you happen to be in the Bay Area, you can try Elixir, a green bar serving only organic cocktails.