Green Spirit Awards: North Charleston, SC Brewery Wants to Save Paradise, Says “No Drill, No Spill” to Offshore Drilling

This is the third post in our Green Spirit Awards monthly blog series, highlighting breweries, wineries and distilleries in the Southeast using clean energy to create tasty, sustainable beverages. You can read the other blogs in this series by clicking here. Cheers!

Holy City Brewing Company in North Charleston, South Carolina released a beer this month dedicated to the paradise that is our Southeast coast: Paradise Session Ale. The ale is light, sessionable (meaning very drinkable for many rounds), and would be enjoyed by a variety of people, even if each had different palates. Paradise, therefore, is crafted to be a perfect beer for enjoying while hanging out for hours with friends on the beach and enjoying the coast we are blessed with.

It is this picture of quintessential coastal life that motivated Holy City to make a statement with Paradise Ale: “Help save paradise. No drill, no spill. It’s not worth the risk.” Paradise Ale seems to me to be equal parts celebration and protest–a celebration of the coast we love, and a protest of that which would jeopardize it.

Offshore drilling and seismic blasting, which have been proposed for the Atlantic coast (although the most recent Atlantic offshore drilling proposal was canceled last month) indeed threaten some fundamental reasons why we choose to call this place home. They risk both the ecology–the beaches, marshes, and wildlife–and the economy, a $7 billion coastal tourism economy.

Holy City Brewing Company is not an outlier in terms of how businesses feel about offshore drilling. In fact, they stand with more than 450 other South Carolina businesses opposed to offshore drilling and over 1,000 businesses along the East Coast. There is even another brewery on the east coast that released a beer opposing offshore drilling and seismic testing–Save the Whale Ale from Green Room Brewing in Jacksonville Beach, FL.

The reason why many everyday small businesses are opposed to drilling off our coast is simple: what we have now works. In South Carolina, the coastal tourism economy generates $7 billion annually and employs 80,000 South Carolinians. In the Mid- and South Atlantic combined, where seismic blasting is still proposed (from Delaware to North Florida), coastal tourism, recreation, and fisheries industries employ more than 300,000 people and generate more than $16 billion annually. There is no justifiable economic case to jeopardize this booming economy with the meager benefits of offshore drilling.

When asked about Holy City’s specific motivation behind Paradise Ale, owner and brewer Chris Brown said, “Our goal from day 1 has been to be as local as possible and support our community as best we can. This [threat of offshore drilling and seismic blasting] is a really big deal. It’s as simple as: ‘We live here. We want to support our community. We use the beaches, we fish in the ocean.’ It’s a cause that betters the place we live in and we want to be a part of that.”

In addition to raising public awareness about the threats of offshore drilling, Holy City is donating a portion of the proceeds from Paradise Ale to two local nonprofit groups dedicated to saving the Lowcountry environment. Currently a portion of proceeds is going toward Don’t Drill Lowcountry to help with the campaign to stop offshore drilling and seismic testing, and when we win the battle against offshore drilling and seismic testing (fingers crossed!), proceeds will go to Coastal Conservation League for generally promoting conservation of this beautiful place we call home.

For beer aficionados out there, here is the beer’s description from Holy City’s website:

We are releasing our session ale, Paradise, on Saturday in celebration of the Atlantic Ocean being taken off of the oil drilling locations list. This delicious beer has can art designed by world-renown street artist and activist, Shepard Fairey

Paradise, our celebratory no-oil-drilling brew, is made with wheat and pilsner malts, giving it a lightness in color and a crispness on the pallette. We hop it with citra, mosaic and warrior hops to get that floral, citrusy punch across on the nose and the mouth. 

The beer will be available in cans and on draft all day at the brewery, so come and enjoy Paradise with us on this beautiful spring Carolina day.

Some of Holy City Brewing Company’s additional environmental initiatives include giving their spent grain to Legare Farms on Johns Island, recollecting the water they use to chill the beer during brewing, and experimenting with running their boiler on biodiesel.

For their dedication to the community and protecting the coast from the impacts of offshore drilling, we award Holy City Brewing Company the Green Spirit Award! Cheers!

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