Leaves change color across a forested ridge.
Forested Ridge Forests filter water in rivers shaping the landscape. © Jon Golden

Stories in Tennessee

OktoberForest in Tennessee

Healthy Forests = Clean Water = Good Beer

The Nature Conservancy and the Nashville-based Jackalope Brewing Company. are working together to conserve Tennessee’s forest and water resources. Both organizations appreciate the relevance America’s forests have for clean water, and also a brewery’s bottom line. In fact, 95 percent of beer is water, and more than half of America’s water comes from our forests.

America’s forests improve the quality, and quantity, of water supplies in many ways—shading streams and lakes to prevent evaporation; filtering sediment and pollution; and securing soil so it can store water like a sponge,” says Josh Parrish, director of TNC’s Working Woodlands program, which engages forest landowners in sustainably managing productive forestlands to benefit wildlife and people.

The Nature Conservancy and Jackalope Brewing Company are partnering to conserve the main ingredient for healthy forests and good beer—water!

Beer glass sits on a table next to a waterfall.
Beer Forest Waterfall If you like beer, you should love forests. © iStock.com/isuaneye

Forests In Decline

Recently, forests have become threatened by more severe fires, drought and increased pest damage. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that about half of its forested lands are in need of restoration in order to maintain natural benefits for people, water and wildlife. 

"The Jackalope team firmly believes in protecting and restoring our forests," says Bailey Spaulding, the brewery's CEO and co-founder.

Spaulding adds, "Being good environmental stewards is something that’s very near and dear to us. which is why  we are so excited to be part of OktoberForest again this year."

The forest's balance can return. Through science and community collaboration TNC is restoring the health and resilience our forests need to face those threats so that both people and nature can thrive.

A group of brewery staff members pose near stainless steel barrels.
Jackalope Brewing Company Staff from the Nashville-based Jackalope Brewing Company pose in front of stainless steel barrels. © Andrew Behrends

Good Neighbor

Jackalope was Nashville’s first craft brewer to can its beer. “We put our beer in cans instead of bottles to help the environment,” Bailey explains. “Cans require less packaging, aluminum is easier to recycle than glass, and it doesn’t break in the forest!”

Other sustainability practices at Jackalope include donating all spent grain to local farmers to feed their livestock, using only recycled six-pack handles and recycling water. “Our brewing process is set up so we can reuse the water that cools our beer after it’s been boiled,” says Chief Operating Officer and business partner Steve Wright.

“There are a lot of small decisions you can make that help a bigger vision of sustainability,” says Bailey. “As we expand our operations, we are always thinking about adding additional types of renewables and sustainability.”

Spaulding adds, “Taking care of forests is ground zero for taking care of the environment. And if you don’t take care of the environment, guess what? Beer goes away. You can’t have good beer without clean water.”