At some point during the holiday season, beer and wine will probably be on your shopping list. According to Lori Bongiorno “great taste and sustainability are not mutually exclusive.” On GreenYahoo.com, she offers the following suggestions for finding planet friendly beer and wines:
- Drink beer from local microbreweries to reduce the amount of fossil fuels used for shipping and support nearby businesses. Read the Beer Advocate’s directory for ratings of breweries, beer stores, and related establishments in your neighborhood. For those who want specific suggestions, see Top Beers on Planet Earth.
- Try organic beer. The barley used to brew organic beer is grown without synthetic pesticides, but there’s no guarantee that the hops (a perennial plant that adds bitterness and aroma) will be grown organically. That’s because the USDA allows producers to use conventionally grown hops if they can’t find organic versions. Some brands to look for: Peak Organic Brewing Company, Butte Creek Brewing, and Wolaver’s Organic Ales. Organic Stone Mill Pale Ale is owned by Michelob.
- The greenest thing you can do is make your own organic beer. You’ll cut down on packaging and the fossil fuels used for shipping and refrigeration. Brewing your own beer will also save you money. A BeerAdvocate series of articles gives a brief overview, discusses ingredients and styles, and lists equipment you’ll need. Shop for supplies and browse recipes at Seven Bridges Cooperative.
- Choose local if you live near good vineyards. For those who don’t, check out Grist’s helpful map to determine carbon content of wine from different parts of the world, or see the original report it’s based on. A green line runs roughly from Ohio to Texas. If you live to the East, drink European wines. To the west, choose those made in California or Oregon. Whatever you choose, buy wine from your neighborhood wine shop.
- Buy organic Or biodynamic wines for a guarantee that grapes were grown without the addition of pesticides and other synthetic chemicals.