Michigan Craft Brewers Raise a Glass to EPA’s Clean Water Rule

“You can’t have great beer without great water”

CHICAGO (May 27, 2015) – Acknowledging the critical role of clean water for both brewers and the communities in which they operate, seven brewers in Michigan are raising a glass in support of EPA’s Clean Water Rule, announced today.

The Clean Water Rule will restore clear safeguards against unregulated pollution and destruction for nearly two million miles of streams and tens of millions of acres of wetlands in the continental U.S.  Nationally, 1 in 3 Americans, or more than 117 million people, get their drinking water from sources that are not clearly protected by our nation’s clean water laws. The Clean Water Rule restores these protections, helping to more clearly safeguard the drinking water for about 1 in 7 Michiganders.

The Clean Water Rule will also provide critical clarity in regulation, which is a key to economic development. Just like our businesses depend on a clean and reliable water supply, so do scores of other businesses across Michigan. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimates that more than $6.1 billion was spent on wildlife recreation in Michigan in 2011, including $2.4 billion on fishing.  Just like brewing, these activities depend on clean water, which supports healthy habitat.

“Clean water means big business for Michigan. More than $2 billion is spent each year on fishing in our Great Lakes, and 36,000 miles of streams and rivers. Clean water makes Michigan craft beer a growing industry that ranks among the best in the nation,” said Matt Greff, Co-Owner, Arbor Brewing Company and Corner Brewery, Ann Arbor & Ypsilanti. “The Clean Water Act is good for people and the planet; I’m proud to support clean water.”

“One reason I strongly support the Clean Water Act is that it protects the agricultural producers who grow the hops and yeast I need to make quality beer.  Arcadia’s success is linked directly to the success of our agricultural partners. The Clean Water Act makes it possible for my business and community to thrive,” said Tim Suprise, Owner, Arcadia Ales, Battle Creek and Kalamazoo.

“Clean water is essential for our business of making great beer,” said Kris Spaulding, Sustainability Director/Owner, Brewery Vivant, Grand Rapids. “But more importantly, I believe we should all do our part to protect the water that ties all of the residents of Michigan together. We are fortunate to live in such a beautiful place and our connection to water is a big part of that.”

“You simply cannot underestimate the importance of a clean and reliable water source to a brewery.  It is no coincidence that Michigan can boast some of the greatest brewers in the world.  Water is life,” said Dave Engbers, Co-Founder & President, Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids. “ We are dependent on this resource for our communities, industrial advancement and recreation.  We cannot take this natural resource for granted.  It is our responsibility to not only to protect our waters, but celebrate their very existence.”

 “You just can’t have great beer without great water,” said Barry Van Dyke, Co-Founder, Harmony Brewing Company, Grand Rapids. “We’ve got a deep dedication to environmental stewardship that drives everyone at Harmony Brewing to push the boundaries of protecting our water so Michigan can continue to be a great beer state.”

“The Clean Water Act makes it easier for my brewery to be a good neighbor and honor the environment. I care about the streams and wetlands that keep Michigan water clean. Water is a huge part of my life: it’s essential to keeping my family healthy and my beer tasting great,” said Joe Short, Founder, Short’s Brewing Company, Elk Rapids & Bellaire.

“Traverse City and northern Michigan is stronger and more economically sound because the water is clean. And since beer is 90% water, clean water is essential to my business,” said Russell Springsteen, Owner, Right Brain Brewery, Traverse City.  “I support the Clean Water Act and am grateful more is being done to protect this vital resource.”

Brewers for Clean Water is a partnership between the Natural Resources Defense Council and craft brewers to raise awareness about the importance of clean water and the Clean Water Act. Few small businesses depend on clean water as much as craft brewers. While hops and malt can be sourced elsewhere, breweries are reliant on their local water supplies. Whether drawn from lakes, rivers, groundwater or a local water system, breweries rely on the protections of the Clean Water Act to ensure the quality of their main ingredient. 

“Clean water is essential not only for life, but for great-tasting beer, said NRDC Water Program Senior Policy Analyst Karen Hobbs. “Members of the Brewers for Clean Water campaign are making the protection of our clean water resources a topic for discussion over a beer with friends, rather than just a wonky policy issue.” 

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