Potentially Coming Soon: Organic Hops for Organic Beer

This would be a welcome move in the right direction.

After years of trying, organic hop growers, most clustered in the Northwest, are poised to win a long-fought battle: requiring organic hops in organic beer. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will take up the issue later this month. Last week, a board subcommittee voted to mandate organic hops in organic beer in about three years.

Pat Leavy, president of the American Organic Hop Grower Association and his colleagues petitioned the NOSB to vote on a mandate that would “mandate organic hops in organic beer in about three years.” They believe it is likely to pass. The NOSB Handling Committee responded to the petition on October 8, 2010 and recommends transitioning hops for inclusion on the National List of Allowed Substances, which identifies synthetic substances that may be used, and the nonsynthetic substances that cannot be used, in organic production and handling operations.

Organic hops have been exempted from certified organic beer because they were too difficult to get enough of in the organic form. When the NOSB, which operates within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), deems an organic ingredient too hard to get, it can waive it for producers and still allow them to display the USDA’s certified organic label. The non-organic ingredients have to be less than 5 percent of the product’s total weight, excluding water (the other main ingredient -barley – has to be organic because it’s the bulk of the product’s weight.)

Surprisingly, Anheuser-Bush also supports the move. [via Migration Brewing]

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