Mounted ridges covered with mist and trees.
Cumberland Gap The forested ridges of Cumberland Gap are located in Kentucky. © Creative Commons/John Brian McCarthy

Stories in Kentucky

OktoberForest in the Bluegrass State

Celebrate OktoberForest with The Nature Conservancy and Falls City Beer.

If you like beer, you should love forests.

However, many of our forests are threatened by development, catastrophic fires, poor management, non-native pests and a changing climate. As a result, beer's main ingredient could be at risk.

Fall is when Kentucky boasts colorful leaves, brisk and sunny days, and trees dripping with apples. In 2018, The Nature Conservancy and Falls City Beer marked the season with OktoberForest, a collaboration between the world’s largest conservation organization and independent brewers in more than 30 states—all raising awareness about the important role that forests play in a healthy water supply … and good beer.

FIVE FOREST FACTS

  • The U.S. is home to the world’s oldest, tallest, and most massive trees.
  • U.S. forests are the source for more than half of our nation’s water.
  • U.S. forests generate more than $13 billion in income for businesses and communities. 
  • U.S. forests provide a million square miles of outdoor recreation space. 
  • Beer is 95 percent water.

The Conservancy works to protect and restore key forestlands and water resources throughout Kentucky. We plan to achieve more through our Working Woodlands program, which engages private landowners in sustainably managing productive forestlands to benefit wildlife and people. But there’s more to do, and we can’t do it without your support!

In 2018, Falls City Beer—a mainstay brewery in Louisville--partnered with The Nature Conservancy for Oktoberforest. Falls City Beer formed in 1905 in protest of the monopolization of beer sales by one company in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1906 Louisville saloons and taverns began serving the beer, and in 1908 the brewery added a bottling plant and sold beer across the city, delivering by horse and wagon. The brewery survived Prohibition selling “near beer,” soft drinks and ice, and expanded into southern states when Prohibition was overturned. By the 1940s, Falls City was a dominant southern brewery.

Small breweries, however, struggled beginning in the mid-1950s when large corporate beer brands began to dominate the market. In the first years after prohibition, 750 breweries were in production; that number fell to 45 in the late 1970s. In 1978, Falls City closed.

The brewery was reimagined in 2010 with the focus of making great craft beer. A new taproom opened in 2018 east of downtown Louisville and features 12 Falls City beers on tap.

Falls City’s English-Style Pale Ale, Kentucky Common, Hipster Repellant IPA and Streetlamp Porter are available on draft and in cans year-round, along with seasonal small-batch collections. The Falls City team is comprised of individuals who took unique paths before joining the brewery. Now, they all unite under the belief that beer brings people together. 

OktoberForest Coaster
OktoberForest The design for coasters used at partner breweries during OktoberForest. © The Nature Conservancy

Celebrate With Us!

TNC and Falls City celebrated during the month of “Oktober” by showcasing the important connection between healthy forests, clean water and great beer. The events marked the launch of an exciting new partnership dedicated to promoting conservation efforts that are key to ensuring Kentucky’s forests can store and filter water flowing into streams and rivers, and eventually, our communities. You can continue to help us achieve our goals in the following ways:

  • VISIT nature.org/tennessee to learn about events, workdays, nature outings and beer tastings dedicated to spreading this important message.  
  • TEXT “TREES” to 50555 to donate $5 for TNC’s forest and water conservation efforts in Pennsylvania.
  • WATCH a one-minute video highlighting the connections between healthy forests, water and beer. 
  • POST your favorite forest and brewery photos to Twitter and Facebook during the month of October with the #OktoberForest hashtag.
  • TALK to your favorite brewer about a forest’s role in making beer and invite them to participate in the future!
A tree trunk surrounded by a forest floor of moss and leaves.
Hemlock Forest Hemlock trees shade the forest floor at a Nature Conservancy preserve. © George C. Gress