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Conservation Voices: Roger Bialous, Georgetown Brewing

Clean Water for Fish, Communities, and Great Tasting Beer

By Roger Bialous, Co-Founder of Georgetown Brewing Company

Roger Bialous and Manny Chao. Photo courtesy of Georgetown Brewing Co.

I am a founding owner of Georgetown Brewing company where we need good water to make good beer. I am also a committed fisherman and outdoorsman. My family and I eat fish that live in water. We eat animals that drink water. And it just so happens that both we and those animals eat plants, both agricultural and foraged, that drink water.

I was fortunate to grow up on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. My exposure from an early age to the beauty of our natural world made a strong impression on me. I think having access to wild lands is essential to their protection and conservation. I strongly believe  that both are necessary. Without access, people will not be able to experience nature, and our lands and water will not have advocates.

In our region (even in a big city like Seattle), we are fortunate to have pretty terrific water—some of the best in the world. That is great for all of our health and quality of life. It is also great for us as brewers. It makes it relatively easy to make great beer without having to manipulate our water much, if at all! It also helps us be very water efficient, with a very low water use to beer yield ratio.

That said, we are staring down the barrel of some daunting challenges. Rapid population growth and the rapid onset of climate change related impacts have already started to stress the environment, as well as our brewing systems. In an effort to reduce our impact and to reduce the impacts on us, we have brought on a Sustainability Coordinator, Caitlin Singer, to lead this work and research the available options and help determine which are most feasible for our brewery. Caitlin also serves on Washington Wild’s Brewshed® Committee.

While it is true that we can use fancy technology to clean our brewing water, it is neither optimal nor
efficient. Technology doesn’t help get pure water to the hops and barley we brew with. We must be aware that everything around us, including the things we eat like our plants, fish, birds, and mammals do not have the ability to purify the water. When that water they consume is polluted, they become polluted. Even if that doesn’t kill them, they pass that pollution on to whatever consumes them, even us.

Georgetown Brewing Co. is proud to work with Washington Wild’s Brewshed® Alliance to work
towards cleaner healthier water for our wild places and our communities. It is the least we can do. The longer we kick the can down the road and do nothing, the more is lost and the harder it will be to recover what remains. Now is the time!

Roger Bialous is the co-founder of Georgetown Brewing Co., along with Manny Chao. Georgetown Brewing is the largest independent brewery in Washington state and a member of the Washington Brewshed® Alliance since 2021.