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The Good Shopping Guide on drinks
Date: November 2002
Shopping Guide. Ethical
increasingly exotic tastes could be causing horrendous and fairly pointless pollution
of the globe.'
newly published Good Shopping Guide is the worlds first comprehensive ethical
reference guide to clearly list the behaviour of the companies behind everyday
You can read the
surefish review of the Good Shopping Guide
elsewhere on the site.
You can also find out what the Good shopping Guide says about perfumes
heres what it says about toys.
heres the lowdown on TV's,
videos and computers.
To buy your copy of the book from Christian Aid
simply call: 020 7523 2229
Heres what the Good Shopping Guide says
lager and cider
big brewers may all be thinking globally these days but seasoned drinkers usually
prefer their local brews when they can find them. Where the big companies often
win is by persuading us that a local brew from far away contains something
special or unique hence the successes of brews from Mexico, South Africa,
India and Thailand.
Below the cover the big companies with nationwide
brands of bitter, lager stout or cider. The table indicates the ownership of the
draught brands which might not be the same as that of bottles and cans
of the same brand.
Our increasingly exotic tastes could be causing
horrendous and fairly pointless pollution of the globe. Ingredients for a real
ale from a local brewery might have travelled about 600 miles in all, which might
seem far enough, but for some imported lagers produced by the multinationals the
ingredients can travel as many as 24,000 miles. There may be some consolation
in the fact that many of the so-called export or continental
lagers are really brewed under licence in the UK, but there is ever more beer
moving across European borders these days.
in the stuff?
Conventional hop farming uses a lot of pesticides
which results in what the pressure group Sustain describes as scorched
earth farming methods, where the ground between and beneath the hops is
kept barren and dusty. Organic farming methods use mustard mixed with hops to
attract predators and combat aphid attacks.
Traditionally, the barley
for malting has come from the highest-quality spring crops but recently there
has been massive development of new winter barley varieties, on which farmers
use almost double the number of pesticides. These changes, and the decrease in
planting of summer barley, have badly damaged bird populations.
current UK legislation, drinks containing over 1.2 percent alcohol are exempt
from the compulsory labelling applicable to other products for consumption. This
means that brewers dont tell us when they use chemical additives, as many
do to increase the shelf life of the beer or to alter the colour or flavour of
the brew. The lack of mandatory labelling causes problems for vegetarians, as
most beers do still use animal-derived products.
Organic beers have begun to take off although there
are real problems finding organic hops the main source of supply being
far-off New Zealand! Organic production of hops in the UK is not only possible
but also potentially highly profitable.
Brewing your own beer can potentially
give you control over many elements of the brewing process. There are no UK homebrew
suppliers currently stocking organic hops, however, these are available by mail
order from the US (www.Seven-bridges-cooperation.com). While this increases beer
miles, the weight of the product is only around 3lbs. Online brewing classes are
now available on the web (www.breworganic.com/index.htm) with lots of the information
you need, from the best equipment to bottling the finished product.
for the road
The legal driving alcohol limit in the UK
is 80mg%, compared with 50mg% in most of Europe and 20mg% in Sweden.
Although the alcohol affects all drivers, accident rates for young people double
after only two drinks and increase tenfold after five drinks.
Shopping Guide ratings
Old Speckled Hen
let ethics spoil your fun
but you really should never drink
Try to support the local pubs that stock local brews.
are best for drinking outdoors and bottles are best at home.
out anywhere, always remove your empties.
To see how the Good Shopping
Guide reached these conclusions, youll have to buy the book, which is available
from Christian Aid by calling 020 7523 2229