Drink a beer, save a forest

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By Tamia Boyd

The Nature Conservancy is working with more than 30 Michigan breweries to raise awareness of what healthy forests and freshwater mean for beer.

“We really do care and understand the importance of  source and filtering water before it goes into beer,” said Melissa Molenda, associate director of marketing for Michigan’s branch of the environmental group.

The group is raising awareness of how forests and water and beer are connected, she said.   And Michigan breweries are loving the campaign.

“It’s very local to them and even if they don’t think about the forest, a lot of the craft brewers I’ve been talking to think deeply about nature and local resources,” Molenda said.

So much so that Michigan leads the nation in the most breweries participating in the campaign.

The Nature Conservancy  has distributed 20,000 coasters to Michigan breweries that say say “Celebrate Oktober Forest”. The coasters encourage beer drinkers to donate $5 for forest restoration by texting “trees” to 50555.

Dane Bosel, owner of Distant Whistle Brewing in Vicksburg, Michigan, wrote on The Nature Conservancy’s website that he understands the importance of forest preservation.

“The water we use at our brewery in Vicksburg is drawn from natural wells, which, while higher in hard minerals, comes out clear and clean,” Bosel wrote. “This clarity comes from the filtration of water.”

Deforestation or neglect can lead to erosion of the soil and of root systems that provide that filtering, he said.

“This is a really easy first step for people to become aware and do something without a lot of thought,” Molenda said. “People are really getting behind it.”

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