Beer is 90 percent water. (You might think that’s true only of Coors Light or Miller 64, but in fact even your favorite New Belgium or Goose Island or Allagash brew is almost entirely aqua.) Once you account for the brewing process, it takes around five gallons of water to produce just one gallon of beer.
With that in mind, the Natural Resources Defense Council is taking a stand on water quality with its Brewers for Clean Water campaign. During the George W. Bush era, the Supreme Court made changes to the interpretation of the Clean Water Act, which weakened the law’s power to curb pollution into drinking water sources. If common sense doesn’t force the Obama Administration to reverse these changes, the NRDC has decided to use beer to drive the message home.
Since Obama is himself a home brewer (though it seems unlikely he has any time to ferment these days), the NRDC has corralled a group of 20 craft breweries—from big hitters such as Sierra Nevada and New Belgium to small guys like Michigan’s Arcadia and Brooklyn’s Kelso—who have made a pledge to make their operations more water-efficient and have signed a letter to the Obama Administration, urging it to pass guidance from the EPA that would put muscle back into the Clean Water Act.