Farms, Forests, Fish…Fermentation?

When you think of the Pacific Northwest what comes to mind? Chinook and Coho salmon, Douglas fir and Western red cedar trees, sweeping fields of thriving cropland? Probably at least one of those, but there is another symbol grabbing hold of the Pacific Northwest: beer, and a lot of it.

Craft beer has taken a hold of areas all over the country, but our corner here in the upper left seems to be particularly infatuated with finding the best local beers. From large metropolitan areas like Seattle and Portland to smaller cities such as Eugene and Bellingham, craft breweries create revenue, jobs, and an overall sense of community making them good examples of the triple bottom line economy focusing on profits, the planet, and people.

So, what does this have to do with protecting the Lands We Love in Whatcom County?

Beer production is water intensive, and the quality and taste of the beer depends heavily on where that water comes from, how clean it is, and whether it’s available year round. Many breweries large and small are starting to understand the issue of water scarcity in the market and the importance of protecting good, clean, reliable water sources in our ever changing climate.

Both Oregon and Washington have already created Brewshed Alliances which bring together brewers, craft beer affiliates and members of the conservation community to address the overlapping issues between craft beer and water conservation. Here in Bellingham, Aslan, Chuckanut, Boundary Bay, Stones Throw, and Wander are all a part of the Washington Brewshed Alliance meaning that they host events and donate funds to Washington Wild, a conservation organization based out of Seattle working to defend, protect and restore wild lands throughout Washington State.

In 2017 Aslan Brewery hosted their Nine for Nine fundraiser which was nine days of fundraising for nine local, environmentally oriented organizations, Whatcom Land Trust being one of those organizations. Whatcom Land Trust also hosted Beers Made by Walking in 2015, a program that invites brewers to go on nature hikes and craft a new beer inspired by the flora and fauna seen on the trail. The Bellingham brewing participants included AslanKulshanStones Throw and Boundary Bay breweries.

This year we have another great fundraiser which combines our love of great brews with our dependence on clean and reliable water resources. Oakshire Brewing, based in Eugene, Oregon, has a program called 1% for Watersheds where “one percent of Watershed IPA sales revenue is set aside for the protection of local watersheds in the territories where the beer is sold, helping to preserve the clean water that is so vital to our community and our beer.” As they were looking to expand they contacted Whatcom Land Trust and Schweinhaus Biergarten to set up an event which will benefit protecting local water resources here in Whatcom County.

For the entire month of January Oakshire Brewing and Schweinhaus will be donating a percentage of every Oakshire pint sold to Whatcom Land Trust to create awareness for both Oakshire and the Land Trust as well as make the connection between craft beer and the importance of protecting the quality water resources we depend on.

Join Us! Any day in January your purchase of Oakshire beer from Schweinhaus Biergarten will benefit the Lands You Love here in Whatcom County! All funds raised will go towards the Land Trust’s upcoming acquisition of Skookum Creek. Learn more about Skookum Creek here.

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