Organic Beer Exposed

Is that Beer Organic? Playing Hopscotch the USDA Way

photo by Dušan Gavenda I read something the other day that stunned me. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has the option to allow food to be labeled as organic even if one of its constituent ingredients is not organic. This exception to standard labeling practices is sometimes used when a key ingredient is not available organically. This was not what stunned me. I am already aware of this fact. What stunned me was finding out that this kind of exception has been made for organic beer because of a general shortage of organic hops. Is nothing in the organic world sacred? How could this come to be? I bet there is a trail of money that leads to one or more of the “Big Three” American brewers, but I won’t name any names until I know for sure what I am talking about. So, over the next month I’ll be auditing our organic beer selections to find out if they are truly organic or if they are using conventional hops. For the ones that are using conventional hops, I will find a way to indicate this to our customers. Look for more information over the next month, with a Bloomingblog posting sometime around February 15th.