On January 31, 2019, the National Audubon Society and Audubon Pennsylvania launched the Brewers for the Delaware River Association. The coalition of craft brewers in the Delaware River Watershed united to promote the protection of the watershed as a reliable, clean water source that benefits the people, birds and communities of the region.
“Birds, people and brewers all rely on clean water to survive,” said Julie Hill-Gabriel, vice president of water conservation at the National Audubon Society. “Teaming up with local brewers throughout the Delaware River Watershed will not only bolster Audubon’s efforts to preserve the home of more than 400 bird species – like Red-headed Woodpeckers, Sanderlings and Red Knots; but it also inspires economic growth for local businesses and industries that depend on the health of the watershed and its water.”
Making up at least 90 percent of beer, water is an essential ingredient that gives each brew a uniqueness that depends on the quality of the water in each local community. The newly formed coalition joined forces under a shared concern of preserving a steady supply of clean water from Delaware River Watershed, which provides drinking water for more than 15 million Americans across four Atlantic states: Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
“Water is a necessary component of life. It sustains us. Our planet and all creatures on it need it,” said Carly Chelder, founder of Tannery Run Brew Works. “Water is also the most important ingredient in making beer. Because we understand the need to preserve our natural resources, we must maintain biodiversity to sustain our environment; and we must keep it clean if we want to continue to make delicious beer and enjoy our local waterways like the Tannery Run.”
“As a small brewery, it is critical that we can rely on clean water for our operation. For any brewery, if we don't have clean water, we can't brew beer,” said Mike Contreras, director of sales and marketing at 2SP Brewing Company. “The Delaware River Watershed’s protection and preservation ensure we can bring better beer to the region and keep tap lines flowing.”
“Having preservation efforts in place, especially concerning clean water, is not only important but vital to a healthy planet – and a healthy planet, is a happy planet,” said Sam Masotto, owner of Bonn Place Brewing Company. “The health of the Delaware River Watershed directly impacts me and my business because we need clean water to live and the better the water quality, the better our beer.”
In addition to providing reliable, clean water for birds, people and the brewing industry in the region, the watershed encompasses more than 13,500 square miles of land across Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, including a variety of vast forests, 400 miles of designated National Wild and Scenic Rivers, and 700,000 acres of wetland habitat. Economically, it is a driver of more than $25 billion in annual activity, $21 billion in ecosystem goods and services each year, and contributes 600,000 jobs and $10 billion in annual wages to the economy.
In January 2019, the National Audubon Society delivered a joint letter signed by 12 breweries from the Delaware River Watershed to the 116th U.S. Congress, urging members to support the watershed and the small businesses that rely on it for economic success. The signees called for congressional members’ support by providing robust funding for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program in years to come.
To date, members of the Brewers of the Delaware River Association include: