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This Beloved Oregonian Brewery Wants To Preserve America’s Essential Watersheds

One of Oregon’s most recognizable breweries is helping preserve its rugged landscapes. With the release of Reel Good Summer Ale, 10 Barrel has partnered with Trout Unlimited and its Home Rivers Initiative to look after and protect important watersheds.

The beer is a refreshing kolsch, ideal for a warm afternoon. It was made with fishing and hiking in mind, using traditional methods and a Champagne-esque fermentation that yields an incredibly clean and crisp beer. It’s the kind of thing you want in your cooler, right next to your fishing rod and lucky angling hat.

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The company devised the #drinkitforward campaign, which includes four different beers that each support a different organization. The brewery’s hazy IPA, Profuse Juice, supports the Surfrider Foundation. All told, two support water-based initiatives and the others back land conservation efforts. A fifth beer in the series is slated to be released this fall.

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There’s a third collaborator on Reel Good and if you pay attention to the pun in the name — and the brand’s outdoorsy nature — you may have guessed what it is. 10 Barrel teamed up with Simms, the lauded fly-fishing outfitter headquartered in the trout mecca otherwise known as Bozeman, Montana. A portion of the proceeds of this beer support one of the most famous fisheries in the country in the Gallatin River.

The two brands have been chatting about a possible team-up for years, according to 10 Barrel’s Marketing Director Andy Goggins. The program exists because both companies are committed to shedding more light on conservation efforts and initiatives we have going on right here in our own backyards of Bozeman, Bend, beyond,” he says. “The charitable component of giving back to preserve the places we value and play in is extremely important to both brands.”

10 Barrel is donating 1% of every Reel Good Summer Ale sold to the cause. Additionally, Simms has locked down a three-year partnership with Trout Unlimited, to the tune of $250,000 donated to the Gallatin River watershed. Outdoor enthusiasts from Portland to Denver can raise a can to such efforts.

Being based in the American West, where there’s so much cherished and untouched land, companies are practically required to take a protective stance. But as Goggins says, it’s about more than defending these special rivers and scenic areas. It’s also about holding on to unique areas so that staff may enjoy them and the countless physical and mental benefits they can provide.

“Our ethos is ‘drink beer outside,'” says Goggins. “Being based in Bend, Oregon with pubs in Boise, Denver, and Portland, we encourage all our employees to get out and enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. We’re really in tune with and interested in making sure that we are doing our part to preserve these natural elements of our environment that bring us so much enjoyment.”

Of course, there are added layers these days, amid climate change and its massive, often devastating ripple effect. It all comes back to the vitality of water, whether in snow form, river form, or even as a finished beer. At the time of writing this, the forecast for Oregon and much of the West is grim, with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees. Not exactly ideal conditions for an already parched part of the planet. “It’s freaking hot out there today,” says Goggins. “We’ve got gnarly wildfires hitting what seems like every season now. Global pandemics might be helped along by species extinction — less diversity — and invasive plants and animals. Snow is good for boarders, skiers, watersheds, and more. I like drinking water almost as much as drinking beer, but we really need the former to live, and we need it to make good beer,” he says.

That kind of approach has a broader appeal which extends beyond just the nature-loving towns of Bend or Denver. In short, we’re all in this climate change mess together, so we ought to all start finding or funding solutions. And again, there’s an internal aspect that can inspire those who make up the brand. “Maybe you could also argue that these initiatives give our employees something that makes their passionate work feel bigger than just making good beer, so in turn, they really care about what they’re doing and we can attest their hearts are in it,” he says. “Really it comes down to this: We all benefit when corporations and brands give back versus just taking from us and only thinking about the bottom line.”

Craft beer and enjoying the outdoors have long been partners. We’re used to seeing websites featuring beer cans on river banks or submerged in snow, at the ready for après-ski. Increasingly, we’re seeing brands actually invest in the outdoors and that can be the difference between a customer stopping to grab a six-pack or not even perusing the beer aisle.

“It’s about walking the talk, and we try to live these ideas that we’re preaching every day,” Goggins says.

How You Can Support

The beer is being poured at 10 Barrel’s various brew pubs in Oregon, Idaho, and Colorado as well as other tap houses throughout the West.

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