Organic festive drinks
Christmas is a time of year when many of us enjoy a festive tipple, and in our final post this year we take a quick look at organic alcoholic drinks.
Reasons to choose organic beer
The main ingredients of beer are malt and hops. To qualify as organic beer 95% or more of the ingredients must be grown using organic, chemical free growing methods. This is easier said than done, as hops are especially prone to mildew, which is usually prevented using chemical treatment sprays. Producers of organic beers must meet requirements set by an organic regulator such as the Soil Association, but is it any better for you?
One of the main chemicals used when growing crops for standard, non-organic beer is glyphosate, a widely used herbicide. Glyphosate is associated with a range of health concerns including cancer. The WHO classify is as “probably carcinogenic”, although opinion is still divided. Concerns are growing about exposure to glyphosate and its effects on our health, including the functions of the endocrine system and other key body functions. An American study found tested wine and beer samples and found that 19 out of 20 contained glyphosate, so there are reasons to consider switching to organic drink alternatives.
In addition to choosing a beer with organic ingredients, some producers argue that there are other health benefits from drinking beer. Hops contain a flavonoid which can help support liver function. Beer has also been positively associated with cognitive function among elderly residents in the US.
The benefits of organic wine
Most grapes grown to produce wine are heavily sprayed with pesticides, and their use is on the increase. Wines tested in 2016 detected 19 different chemical residues in 14% of those sampled, rising to 50% of wine tested in 2022. With more organic wines now available there are good reasons to choose an organic bottle of wine. If you like to pop a bottle of champagne at Christmas there is a growing choice of organic champagne available for home delivery.
Choosing a good whisky is often a matter of personal choice, but if you want to avoid any of the chemicals used to grow crops to produce whisky, it’s worth considering an organic option. Some producers pride themselves on blends that are free of chemical residues, and claim that crops grown in soil that is free of pesticides and herbicides can also enhance the flavours. The same applies to organic gin where the botanicals used to infuse the gin are grown organically without the use of chemicals. And don’t forget about organic soft drinks and mixers, there are many brands to choose from.
Does red wine give you headache?
If you’re one of the unfortunate people who experience ‘red wine’ headaches, there may be an explanation at last. It seems that it’s not about how much you drink, but a compound, quercetin found in red wine, present at up to 10x higher levels than white wine that some people find harder to metabolise than others. If you enjoy red wine consider making your own organic mulled wine.
And finally, we’d like to thanks our readers and wish you all a most happy and peaceful Christmas.
Learn more about organic beer
More about the nutritional benefits of beer.