We all know beer is famous for its common ingredients: malt, hops, yeast, and water. Do you as a brewer or (many times more frequently) as a beer drinker ever focus on where these three farmed ingredients plus the water come from? The brewing industry has responded to today’s demographic trends where people are far more concerned with quality of offerings and how the environment is impacted by every level of the supply chain. Safe to say, the traditional farming of hops, malt, and yeast included the use of many types of pesticides (a really naughty word in the environmentally friendly world). Over the last decade, the concept of organic beer has been gaining popularity and share in the market. Let’s explore…
The easy way to get your beer classified as organic is to brew beer using any level of organic ingredients. The certification of your organic beer can vary depending on the classic USDA grading scale:
- 100% Organic: All ingredients are certified organic. The brewing process has been completed ensuring all components are made organically.
- Organic: At least 95% of the ingredients in the beer are certified organic.
- “Made with” Organic: At least 70% of the ingredients in the beer are certified organic.
A tip from The Session for any brewer looking for a way to dive into the organic beer trend: start with organic malt! Organic malt is commonplace nowadays in the malt market, and relatively low priced. It’s a convenient solution to show your environmentally-conscious customers you are starting to focus on brewing beer with the future of the world in mind.
One thing to be concerned about as we move out of the pandemic and deal with the inflated cost of typical ingredients, sourcing ingredients to achieve the “organic beer” status will surely cost you a bit more than your typical IPA or Stout. This cost will have to be absorbed by the consumer through higher prices–which may be okay depending on how environmentally friendly your patrons are. A good tip would be to keep a wide variety of brews available to your visitors, and be ready to continue moving forward towards all organic beer as the costs lower and demand increases.
Here’s to an all organic CHEERS to the future!
Reference and data from