Clean Water. Great Beer.

Why Water Matters to Oregon Brewers

Your favorite Oregon brew is more than 90 percent water. The next time you crack open a cold one, take a moment to think about that water’s origins. Prior to flowing into the brewery and mixing with hops, barley and yeast, it was naturally filtered through our forested watersheds. Healthy forest ecosystems gathered water from rain and fog and absorbed, purified, and slowly released it into rivers, lakes, and streams where it created and sustained life on its way to the tap. 

Clean water is essential for great beer—and healthy forests clean water. At least half of the drinking water in the United States is stored and filtered through our forests, but many of these forests are in immediate need of restoration to reduce the risk of severe fire events that would threaten water quality. We’re working hard to make that happen to ensure healthy forests can continue to provide us with clean water—for beer and beyond.

We have over 246 breweries in Oregon and all the best ones agree: clean water matters. 

Curtis Nelson Good Life Brewing

Curtis nelson, GoodLife Brewing

“You have to have good water to make good beer. At GoodLife, we do not filter the water coming into our brew house. It is critical for us to keep our forests and mountains as clean as possible in order to put out a consistently great product. We preach getting outside and enjoying the outdoors here in Central Oregon with as little environmental impact as possible, and the water we brew with definitely reflects that. It is a privilege to live in such a beautiful place and live the GoodLife!”

Anthony Stone, Brewer, Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Oregon ©   Deschutes Brewery

Anthony Stone, Deschutes Brewery

“Beer is over 95% water. It is critical that the water we use to brew is of the best quality to make damn tasty beer. We live and brew in the high desert and know that water is a treasured resource. Brewing beer is water intensive and we are continually working to use less water in the process. Deschutes is proud of our namesake—the river that flows less than 1,500 feet from our brewhouse. We’re committed to helping improve water quality and flow and preserve the lifeline of the Central Oregon region.”

Charlie Van Meter, Head Brewer, Yachats Brewing, Yachats, Oregon ©   Yachats Brewing

Charlie Van Meter, Yachats Brewing

"When most people think of beer ingredients - they think of hops and barley. Yet, what we strive for is a complete, clean taste in what we create here at Yachats Brewing + Farmstore. Having access to the purity that is the Suislaw River, we are fortunate to be able to use that water and make amazing beer. We also do not take for granted the importance of water preservation. It is crucial to our mission to use the water with intention and gratitude."

Christian Ettinger, Brewmaster and Founder, Hopworks Urban Brewery, Portland, Oregon ©   Tim LaBarge

Christian Ettinger, Hopworks Urban Brewery

“My body is 60% water and beer is 90% water. I’m striving to become more like beer every day! Brewers recognize the relationship between clean, abundant water and great beer. Touring [Portland watershed] Bull Run was a rare privilege and a beautiful surprise. It brought clarity to the challenges of supplying a growing city with amazing, naturally filtered water. It is incumbent upon us to guard this precious resource through environmental stewardship and conservation.” Photo © Tim LaBarge

Larry Chase, Head Brewer, Standing Stone Brewing Co., Ashland, Oregon ©  Standing Stone Brewing Co.

Larry Chase, Standing Stone Brewing Co.

"Since a glass of beer is 90-96% water, the water we use to brew beer needs to be good. Our local Ashland city water is well suited for brewing tasty beer. Coming from snow melt and rain out of the mountains in the Ashland watershed the water is super clean so we have to do very little to treat it for brewing. It’s good to know that organizations are working together to maintain the health of the forest in the watershed to in part maintain the excellent water source that flows to our brewery. Come by for a pint of beer. Cheers!”

Paul Thurston, Brewer, Base Camp Brewing, Portland, Oregon

Paul Thurston, Base Camp Brewing

"All brewers understand the vital importance of water, as it symbolizes the canvas upon which all beers are painted. At Base Camp, this vitality is underscored by our commitment to and reverence for the great outdoor playground which surrounds us- our pristine Northwest watersheds, pocketed by lakes and cut by streams, feeding some of the world's greatest rivers and home to a priceless diversity in native habitat. Water is life, cheers to living!"

Jamie Floyd, Brewer, Ninkasi Brewing, Eugene, Oregon

Jamie Floyd, Ninkasi Brewing

"Water is the single largest ingredient in beer. From chemistry to flavor, variances in water create the greatest differences in the taste of beer. We are fortunate that our water source here in Eugene is the McKenzie River, which has been voted numerous times as Best Drinking Water in the US. Its water flows from the Cascade mountains, through lava that acts as a filter to produce pristine water. Its chemistry makes perfect base water for brewing and by adding brewing salts, we can recreate water that is similar to other parts of the world. This flexibility allows us to emulate beer styles from around the world. At Ninkasi, we reuse and recapture water wherever we can. For example, water that chills boiling wort to capture its heat is used in the next batch of beer. We reuse bulk chemicals needed for cleaning many times which saves countless gallons of water compared to using them just once. Throughout our facility we made bioswales to collect and redistribute the plentiful rain that falls in Eugene to our landscaping rather than sending it to the treatment plant. Healthy forests are critical to keeping riparian zones flowing with pristine water. Healthy forests prevent soil and other debris from clogging up the rivers. Rivers not surrounded by forests tend to have less variance of species, which can lead to intruder organisms blooming and changing the quality of the water. Healthy forests equal healthy rivers. "

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