PORTLAND, Ore – Oregon Wild announced the formation of the Oregon Brewshed® Alliance, a coalition of brewers, craft beer affiliates, and conservationists advocating for the protection of forests and watersheds. Organized by Oregon Wild, the state’s premiere conversation non-profit, Oregon Brewshed® Alliance members work together to educate the beer drinking community on the essential connection between watershed conservation, clean water, and Oregon’s celebrated craft brewing industry.
Charter members of the Alliance include Widmer Brothers Brewing, Hopworks Urban Brewery, and Migration Brewing in Portland; Elk Horn Brewery and Claim 52 Brewing in Eugene; Fort George Brewery in Astoria; and GoodLife Brewing in Bend. Beers Made By Walking, a statewide program inviting brewers to make beer inspired by nature hikes, also joined as a charter member.
“Great beer begins with clean water,” said Oregon Wild Executive Director Sean Stevens. “It shouldn’t come as a surprise that in Oregon, our purest, best-tasting water comes from rivers and streams flowing through unspoiled public forest lands. Beer is over 90% water, so when we protect and restore Oregon’s forests and rivers, we’re protecting Oregon beer at its source. Oregon Brewshed® Alliance members recognize this connection and pledge to protect these resources, provide leadership in sustainability and conservation, and commit to brewing craft beers of the highest quality.”
The Oregon Brewshed® Alliance idea began in 2009 when Oregon Wild teamed up with Widmer Brothers Brewing to protect the Bull Run/Little Sandy Watersheds from chemical treatment. This partnership, along with prior protections for 95,000 acres of forest within the watersheds, successfully safeguarded the quality of Portland’s water supply. Along with Widmer Brothers Brewing, Migration Brewing and Hopworks Urban Brewery source their water from the Bull Run/Little Sandy.
“We’re excited to continue our work with Oregon Wild to preserve our waterways and bring attention to the unique nexus of clean water and great craft beer that we enjoy in Oregon,” said Julia Person, Sustainability Manager for Widmer Brothers Brewing. “Widmer Brothers is committed to being responsible with our water usage, within our brewery and within our own backyard, and we look forward to the opportunity to support our community through the Oregon Brewshed® Alliance.”
“Water is one of if not the most important ingredients in beer, and here in Oregon we are very fortunate to have some of the best water in the country,” said Colin P. Rath, owner of Migration Brewing Co. “Many breweries have to adjust the hardness or softness as well as PH of their water to create and protect flavors they are looking to create with hops and barley. Here in Oregon we just naturally have water that allows us to create amazing beer, which means we as brewers/brewery owners should help protect these water sources.”
Hopworks Urban Brewery, another charter member, joined the Alliance around the same time they earned B Corporation certification. “At Hopworks, we constantly strive to find new ways to mitigate our water use,” said Christian Ettinger, Brewmaster and Founder. “We recently installed a Cleaning in Place system which reduces our detergent use by 50% and captures our rinse water for future use. We also use Organic and/or Salmon-Safe Certified hops in all of our beer to ensure cleaner water runoff from farms that grow our hops. Water is vital to our future as a community and we are glad to be able to partner with the Oregon Brewshed® Alliance to protect our water sources.”
In Eugene, Claim 52 Brewing and Elk Horn Brewery draw their water from the McKenzie River Watershed. Both breweries partner with Oregon Wild for events promoting the conservation of Oregon’s wildlands, wildlife, and waters.
“Clean water is vital to the health of our community as well as the quality of our product, so this is such a natural alliance for us,” said Mercy McDonald, owner of Claim 52. “The events are a great way to help people connect the dots and get more people involved in supporting watershed protection.”
Members of the public are invited to attend these upcoming events to celebrate and support the launch of the Oregon Brewshed® Alliance:
- June 4th: Oregon Brewshed® Alliance happy hour at Claim 52 Brewing
- June 18th: Oregon Brewshed® Alliance happy hour at Migration Brewing
- August 3rd: Community Tap Kickoff at Hopworks BikeBar – Throughout the month of August, $1 per pint at Hopworks BikeBar will support the Oregon Brewshed® Alliance.
Find out more at www.oregonwild.org/OregonBrewshedAlliance