Mud Pond, at the heart of the Johnsonburg preserve, is a limestone wetland providing excellent habitat for rare plant species, along with waterfowl and other wildlife. 
Johnsonburg Swamp Preserve Mud Pond, at the heart of the Johnsonburg preserve, is a limestone wetland providing excellent habitat for rare plant species, along with waterfowl and other wildlife.  © Dwight Hiscano

Stories in New Jersey

New Jersey Brewers for Healthy Forests & Clean Water

Forests provide clean water for beer's main ingredient: water.

Buck Hill Brewing © Internal

Buck Hill Brewing

Opened in 2017 and within walking distance of the Paulins Kill river, Buck Hill Brewery crafts its beers using locally-grown, personally nurtured and hand-picked hops, including what they cultivate at their own hops farm. Exclusively brewing with hop varietals full of personality and flavor contributes to the distinction of their brewmaster’s ales, lagers, porters, pilsners, IPAs and seasonal specialty beers. Buck Hill gives the spent grain from its brewing process back to the local agriculture network to feed animals and enrich soil for future crops. The restaurant’s farm-to-table dining menu focuses on ingredients from local farms and creameries.  

Sourland Mountain Spirits © Internal

Sourland Mountain Spirits

In 2014, Ray Disch, owner of Sourland Mountain Spirits, established New Jersey’s first “farm distillery” since the Prohibition. The Sourland Mountains with their rich history of farmers, bootleggers, rebels, patriots and artisans provide the backdrop for distillery operations, which focus on handcrafted, small-batch gin, rum, vodka and bourbon. Drawing from an aquifer at the base of the Sourland range, the spirits are made using pure water filtered through micro-fractures in the geologic formations of the mountains, protected by the largest contiguous forest in Central New Jersey. The many surrounding farms provide local, fresh and sustainable ingredients from herbs to fruit to grain.

New Jersey Beer Company © Internal

New Jersey Beer Co.

New Jersey Beer Co. claims it “pours New Jersey pride into every pint we produce.” Founded in 2010 and nestled between the Hudson and Hackensack Rivers, the craft brewery creates year-round and seasonal beer varieties under the expertise of brewers Dave Manka and Mehmet Kadiev, and Chairman Paul Silverman. These hyper-local specialty beers are only available in New Jersey.

Flying Fish Brewing © Internal

Flying Fish Brewing

Flying Fish Brewing Co. grew from humble beginnings in 1995 to the largest craft brewery in New Jersey today, just a few miles from the mighty Delaware River. Owner Gene Muller built brewery operations around sustainability, from solar power and recycling to high-efficiency brewing equipment. The facility has a rain garden out front door that provides small-scale, forest-like services: preventing soil erosion, soaking up water that would otherwise contribute to flooding in a nearby creek, filtering impurities from storm runoff, and providing food and habitat for wildlife. It’s a reminder to visitors of the important role nature plays behind the scenes all the time in daily life.

Man Skirt

Man Skirt Brewing

A Kickstarter campaign helped owner Joe Fisher launch Man Skirt Brewing in 2015. The brewery, located a stone’s throw from the Musconetcong River and just a few miles from the Delaware River, offers everything from lagers and ales to porters and IPAs. The outfits unusual name comes from Fisher’s penchant for wearing utility kilts, even around the tasting room!

Ironbound Cider © Internal

Ironbound Cider

Newark was once celebrated as the home of America's finest hard cider. Ironbound Hard Cider pays homage to that heritage by cultivating 18th century Newark cider apple varieties — including the world-renowned Harrison apple — at their 108-acre farm in the Highlands. Their cider is made exclusively with fresh-pressed apples from Ironbound farm and small-scale orchards in the Mid-Atlantic and New England. Because their orchard is managed using regenerative agricultural practices, Ironbound considers the health of the Highlands' forests and waterways to be integral to the overall health of their trees and the quality of their fruit.

Angry Erik Brewing

Angry Erik Brewing

The Highlands mountain range in northwestern New Jersey is known its cool, clear streams and lush forests. And both of these elements are critical to good craft beer production for Angry Erik Brewing, located smack in the heart of the Highlands landscape in Lafayette. In honor of OktoberForest, The Nature Conservancy in New Jersey is collaborating with Angry Erik to highlight the important role that forests play in protecting our clean drinking water, and by extension—in producing great beer.

What is OktoberForest? Love your beer, love your forest. Learn how forests help beer, and what you can do to help forests.


Forest - Water - Beer

Learn more