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Local Limelight: Weeklyish Articles Of Interest

Boozin' Chemical Free
By: Sara Nassrine; Organic Junkie Extrordinaire

We already try to eat all organic, so why not drink that way, too?

Organic wine, beer, and spirits are the newest trend in sustainable farm culture. I like to think of it as proof that organic foods have finally hit the mainstream. I mean, c'mon, when even hotel chains are boasting the marketing plusses of stocking organic cocktails, you know you've made a mark!

The reasons for choosing organic alcohol are pretty clear: the ingredients used to make it are grown on sustainable, eco-friendly farms, and they are grown without pesticides, which means you get all of the wondrous effects of your fermented beverage of choice, with none of those pesky carcinogens. Plus, as always, organic just tastes better! Neat, huh?

We Portlanders are no strangers to the organic brew. We are, after all, home to one of the world's largest annual organic beer festivals, and most of our delicious local breweries carry at least one organic concoction on tap. Laurelwood Public House is at the top of the list for organic beers; at the moment, they are offering seven different organic brews. However, if that's a trek for you, organic options can also be found at Deschutes, Rogue, Hopworks, and Lucky Labrador, just to name a few, and more awesome bottled options are popping up every day. To check up on Portland's organic beer scene; just type 'organic' into their search engine, and you're ready to go tasting!

Organic wine has also made a pretty strong mark on our consciousness. By now, most of us have been exposed to it; if you have yet to try it, you have at least walked by it in the grocery store. I don't want to play favorites with my organic alcohols, but if, hypothetically, you were only able to switch out one alcohol to organic, and the rest of your spirits were conventional, you should switch to wine. One article on organic wine points out, "...grapes are among the most heavily sprayed of all agricultural crops. Typically, as many as 18 different chemicals are used on non-organically grown grapes during their growing cycle."

The Organic Foods Production Act guidelines state that a wine cannot be considered to be truly organic unless no sulfur dioxide (or sulfites, a preserving agent) has been added to it. Many farmers choose to continue to use sulfites, and just label their wine as 'made with organically grown grapes.' There are still many different discussions going on as to the effects of sulfites on humans, and I don't feel qualified to discuss them here. Suffice it to say that even wines with sulfites are still free of pesticides, and ecologically sound.  If you're having trouble finding truly organic wines, try You can research different wineries, and actually purchase the wine online.

Surprisingly, though organic wine and beer are readily available, it is only very recently that organic spirits have arisen. Tru Organic Spirits is one of the very few broad-spectrum American spirit manufacturers, but more are popping up every day. A couple exciting upcoming American companies includes Oregon’s own Organic Nation, and Northern California’s LOFT liqueurs. The Organic Spirits Company, based in the U.K. has had organic spirits available for a few years now, and their spirits, along with many others, can be purchased online here, just do a search for 'organic.' Personally, I have my eye on the Papagayo Organic Spiced Rum-- put it over ice with organic orange juice and a couple slices or organic pineapple, and it'll be summer in the rain!

So go forth and drink healthily, my friends, as always in moderation, and rest easy knowing that you've expunged yet even more distasteful chemicals from the environment and from your bodies.


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