David Kucera, co-owner of Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company in Maxwelton, West Virginia

As the trees change color in West Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains, we’re reminded once again of the many values, from scenic vistas to clean air and water, that these forests bring to our communities. This October, the Conservancy in West Virginia is taking part in The Nature Conservancy’s national OktoberForest campaign, a collaboration with local breweries across America to raise awareness about the essential connection between healthy forests and clean water. We asked David Kucera, co-owner of Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company, to tell us more about why forests are important to him and the brewery.


Why do healthy forests matter to brewers like you?

David Kucera:

As a forester, I have a deep understanding of a healthy forest and enabling clean water is just one of the aspects of this equation. Promoting species diversity is also important. As for how it matters to brewers like me, clean water is crucial to great beer so we want to protect it as much as possible. Also, for us at the brewery, we are lovers of all things outdoors. I'm an avid hiker and backpacker and so are many of the tourists that come to this state. They come here from urban areas to enjoy our outdoor opportunities.


How does clean water correlate with quality beer? How is water significant to the process?

David Kucera:

Water is very important to beer. As a homebrewer, I used to adjust the water before I made the beer. You add gypsum and other salts to give it a particular profile depending on the kind of beer you are brewing. You can add things to water to make great beer, but if the water is initially unclean then it is not really possible to get it back to a more pristine base. A lot can be done, but it is much easier to start with clean, pure water.


On a personal note, what is your connection to West Virginia? Why is the Mountain State important to you?

David Kucera:

I moved to West Virginia in 1995 to attend West Virginia University. I've not left the state since then. Its outdoor opportunities have always been appealing to me: hiking, biking, rock climbing, rafting. The state has world-class opportunities in all of these areas. As I get older and watch my friends on Facebook in more urban areas raising their kids, I realize the many values of raising my kids here. I grew up in the hustle and bustle of the Baltimore area and had always longed to live in the mountains.


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