In the Twenty First Century, it appears more people are getting in touch with their community businesses through buying direct: We buy our bread from the bakery, vegetables at the farmer’s market and overall make an effort to choose healthy and environmentally conscious decisions. Everyday more people are beginning to see the value of buying local and organic.
So you come home from school, work or some activity you’re involved in and it’s time for dinner; what’s on the menu? How about some local organic beef and a salad from your garden. And just when you’re ready to sit down and indulge, you realize that you need something to drink with your meal; something like a beer – a nice tall glass of Picaroons Certified Organic Dooryard. Yum!
Have you ever considered an organic beer before? If you haven’t, you should.
It’s not a large market in Atlantic Canada, but it definitely exists and it’s growing in places across the country. Picaroons Brewing Company (NB), Mill Street Brewery (ON) and Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company (ON) are the most commonly known for their organic brews.
Picaroons Brewing Company, located in Fredericton, has been getting some buzz in recent years for the introduction of their certified organic Dooryard Wheat Beer and they intend on certifying more of their delicious beer in the future. This summer, demand soared for Picaroons and resulted in a serious shortage for NB Liquor Stores. In order to meet this ‘growing thirst’, Picaroons has to import their ingredients from outside of the province.
In 2002, Mill Street Brewery introduced Ontario’s first certified organic beer “Original Organic”, a 4.2% German Pilsner. However, to produce their beer Mill Street has to import their malt from the Canadian Malting Company in the prairies and their hops from New Zealand. As it stands right now New Zealand is the only place where there exists a steady supply of the types of hops used in Mill Streets “Original Organic”. This is a serious distance!
But this week there was some exciting news for organic breweries; the CBC reported on the largest (transitional) organic hops farm in New Brunswick, located in Sussex. Happy Hopyard is getting lots of attention for their 16 hectares of hops; but it doesn’t sound like they’re going to have much left over after the harvest.
In his interview with the CBC, Picaroons’ owner Sean Dunbar said: “we’re going to end up taking all of their volume…It’s been a long-time goal of mine as a brewer to make beer from products all in New Brunswick.” Other Maritime microbreweries such as Propeller and Garrison are also considering the organic route now too. So what does this mean for the future of beer? More opportunities for local organic farms (to grow hops and produce malted barley) and more choice for consumers — cheers to that!
– Joni Fleck Andrews