I got an interesting e-mail this morning from a brewer I know who also makes organic beers. He’s just returned from the Natural Products Expo West, which was held this weekend in Anaheim, California. A quick search of the expo’s website reveals that Green Valley Brewing Co., Anheuser-Busch’s dba for Wild Hop Lager, was indeed there at booth #4580. This is the blurb about the company listed there:
Wild Hop lager is a proud supporter of the Organic Farming Research Foundation. The certified organic co-ops our ingredients are harvested from use holistic farming practices and follow strict guidelines to harvest pure, flavorful barley.
Again, there was nothing to indicate that this is an Anheuser-Busch product. More curious, though, is my friend’s e-mail mentioned that there was another beer booth, this one located outisde the beverage tent, with an organic pale ale from a brewery by the name of Crooked River Brewing Co. of New Hampshire. The beer is named Stone Mill Pale Ale, which evokes a natural, almost folksy, mental picture. Unfortunately, it’s also made in Fairfield, California. And while I have even less information about this brewery, it is definitely another Anheuser-Busch product masquerading as a small brewery from the Granite state.
The only information I have is from the Natural Foods Expo, which is as follows:
Stone Mill Pale Ale is brewed from certified USDA organic barley malt, hops, yeast and water. Our ingredients are hand selected from the lush, organic co-ops of Canada and the Pacific Northwest.
So it appears that they really are attempting to pass both products off as eco-friendly, which in fact they may be. I can’t honestly say they’re not; the USDA did certify the beer, after all. But I can say that the average consumer of organic products, depending on their own personal reasons for buying organic, might want to know that the organic beer they’re buying, which looks like it’s from a small, concerned, organic brewery, is actually the product of the largest brewery in the world, a huge multi-national corporation. And I personally believe that is information they ought to have so they can make an informed decision about what beer to drink.