Good beer

Good as in virtuous that is; morally right, ethical.

I’ve always admired The Five Points Brewing Co. for its aspiration to be part of its local community, as well as for its status as a living wage employer. Many other breweries pay the living wage of course, and there’s even a festival celebrating Living Wage Week at Mason & Company next week. One such brewery is Gipsy Hill, which I visited last week on the day it launched its ‘Community Taproom’ Crowdfunder campaign. It’s an ambitious project, and one that sets Gipsy Hill apart from its contemporaries in its aim of  creating a fully accessible taproom, with a split-level bar and tables that can accommodate wheelchairs. In addition, there will be a community space for local groups, NGOs and other organisations to meet for events such as fundraisers etc.

Importantly, there is also a stated aim to “subsidise activities and events where possible to ensure they are affordable to individuals with lower incomes”. With this simple sentence, Gipsy Hill has addressed the elephant in the craft beer bubble’s room; namely, what of those left behind by the ‘craft beer revolution’ for socioeconomic reasons?

There are certain breweries (and other companies) whose ethics align with my own, and it’s beers from those breweries I ideally prefer to drink. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a martyr – I won’t drink slop just because the brewer opposed the invasion of Iraq or whatever. I also understand there are many disparate factors involved in determining our purchasing decisions, and I can’t say hand on heart that all of mine are ethically sound. There are too many demands on consumers to live a truly ethical life, not least financial ones.

However, at a time when the world seems to be falling apart around us, why not make a small gesture towards improving it? It’s with this in mind that I’ve decided to put my money where my mouth is and invest in Gipsy Hill’s campaign. It’s a comfortable, semi-altruistic gesture but it’s well worthwhile and I would implore you to back them too.

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