A can of Allagash River Trip beer balances on a canoe paddle with a stream in the background
Allagash Brewing

Guest tap: Allagash Brewing Company on protecting Portland’s clean water

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If you’ve ever tasted an Allagash beer, you’ve tasted the benefits of protecting forests around Sebago Lake. The water we use at our brewery in Portland, Maine, comes straight from this beautiful lake, the source of drinking water for about one-sixth of Maine’s population. Sebago Lake is one of only 50 public surface water supplies in the entire country that doesn’t require filtration before treatment. That’s because healthy forests surround the lake, naturally filtering the water. 

A panoramic image from a lakeshore with trees reflected on the surfaceThe clear, clean waters of Sebago Lake flow through the taps of 1 in 6 Maine residents. Photo credit: Flickr user Catherine D. Kerr

But today, according to the U.S. Forest Service, Sebago Lake is one of the most threatened watersheds in the nation: only ten percent of the land surrounding it is protected from development. Meanwhile the real estate market along the lake’s scenic shores is booming. Denser development introduces more sources of pollution, as the forested lands that naturally keep our water clean are disappearing. 

We can’t make great beer without clean water from Sebago Lake. That’s one reason we’re excited to partner with The Trust for Public Land and Loon Echo Land Trust to create the Tiger Hill Community Forest, protecting nearly 1,500 acres of natural land in the town of Sebago on the lake’s northwest shore and opening it to the public to explore.

Rob Tod, founder of Allagash BrewingRob Tod, owner of Allagash Brewing. The company helped create Tiger Hill Community Forest, protecting clean water and outdoor access for generations to come.Photo credit: Allagash Brewing

But the importance of Sebago Lake goes far beyond brewing. The Tiger Hill Community Forest also protects 330 acres of wetlands, rivers, and brooks that are home to eastern brook trout, landlocked salmon, a smelt-spawning run, wading birds, and waterfowl. The forest also connects residents and visitors with the land, creating opportunities for outdoor recreation, boosting the  local economy, and benefiting the health of the Sebago community. 

In 2019, we pledged to donate ten cents from every barrel of beer we brew to sebagocleanwaters.org to help preserve clean water in our local community, so every Allagash beer you drink contributes to conserving Maine’s natural resources. Cheers!

Rob Tod is the founder of Allagash Brewing Company.

The Trust for Public Land and Loon Echo Land Trust are members of the Sebago Clean Waters coalition, a group committed to keeping Maine’s largest drinking water supply clean.

Comments

Mark Buettner
So they are treating the brewery wastewater? Recycling treated water? Bio digesting to become carbon neutral?
TPL
Hi Mark, great question! We asked our friends at Allagash and here’s their response: "Thanks for your question! First, we minimize the brewery's water consumption in several ways and we're always looking for new opportunities to do better. For example, we capture the water used to rinse the inside of our bottles prior to filling and reuse it to rinse the outside of the same bottles after filling. We also installed a fully automated wastewater system in 2016 to improve the quality of the effluent we are sending to our water district. We operate well below the industry average for water usage; we use an average of 3.55 gallons of water for 1 gallon of packaged beer. And we were recently honored as the recipient of the 2019 Pretreatment Excellence Award from The Maine Water Environment Association due to our commitment to proper wastewater management and our efforts to show other breweries how to improve their systems."
Jeff Schwersinske
Portland like the clean water save it, Like Jeff

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