We agree with Matt Simpson aka The Beer Sommelier, who in 2008 wrote “think global, Drink local” about the value of buying local beers and organic ones as well: http://www.thebeerexpert.com/beer_sommelier_works.shtml.  Props to his prescience. Three years later he’s now joined by a chorus of locavors — people, especially foodies — who advocate buying locally produced goods, produce, etc., when possible. As Simpson points out, buying locally helps the local economy.  Local First Milwaukee — formerly Our Milwaukee (est. 2006) — has done the math: For every $1 you spend at a locally owned business, more than 68¢, versus 43¢ spent at a national chain, remains in Milwaukee.  Sprecher has been an active member of Local First Milwaukee almost since its inception.

And there’s something to be said for fresh ingredients. This year Sprecher made its first brew using hops grown in central Wisconsin, Fresh Hop Amber.  Fresh hops have a short life. After picking they were driven to the the brewery and immediately put to use. Even though the alpha acids on these beers were low, over time their flavor profile evolved giving the beer a crisp and distinctive taste.  The distinction came from the Wisconsin terroir, a geo-specific term originally used to describe the unique qualities soil and environment lend to grapes.  Because Wisconsin’s terroir differs from California’s, for example, the flavor of our hops do too.  We look forward to incorporating fresh Wisconsin hops into more beer styles in 2012.

Another point Simpson brings up: beer at its freshist is beer at its bestist, and it’s easier to get fresh beer directly from the source or at a nearby store, bar or restaurant. This is one reason people love growlers–beer straight from the tap–which we offer at Sprecher.  Like locally sourced ingredients, freshly tapped beer saves on the carbon footprint because it requires less transportation and, in the case of growlers, less packaging. One growler holds 64oz of fresh beer, the same as 4 pint bottles.  Growlers do not have a long shelf life. Once opened they should be consumed in a day, two max.

Local breweries appreciate your support. We at Sprecher certainly do. We’ve worked hard to become an integral member of our community.  Every year Sprecher gives back to the community with product and cash donations for myriad causes ranging from school fundraisers to non-profit health organizations to our armed forces. And we toast each and every customer who has helped make us successful. Thank you, and Happy New Year! Drink great beer whenever you have the chance. If that beer happens to be local, two cheers. If that beer happens to be Sprecher, three cheers!