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Peak Organic Brewing Co.

The natural
By MIKE MILIARD  |  March 21, 2007

It’s natural to want the things you eat and drink to have traveled as short a distance as possible from Mother Nature to your plate or pint glass. But all too often, otherwise natural ingredients are corrupted with chemicals such as pesticides and preservatives. Even in craft brews.

Jon Cadoux started home brewing nine years ago. It was about this time that he noticed something that shouldn’t have been all that startling: “Organic products were really tasty.”

Put aside for a moment the personal, environmental, and social dimensions of organic food and drink. Think instead about the flavor. One of beer’s strong points is its simplicity: barley, hops, water, yeast. Shouldn’t it follow that those ingredients be as unadulterated as possible? Peak’s hops (from the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, Canada, and New Zealand) and barley are grown entirely without pesticides or chemical fertilizers.

“The most important thing in a beer is the purity of the ingredients,” says Cadoux, who’s been brewing Peak Organic from Portland, Maine, since last spring. “They just really make it pop with flavor. That’s why organic products are doing so well.” (Organic beer sales topped $19 million in 2005, a 40 percent increase.)

Peak Organic’s product, so far, comprises three classic ale styles: Pale Ale, robust and well-rounded, and marked by a mildly citric hop tang; Amber Ale, glinting with sweetish caramel notes; and Nut Brown Ale, which offsets its rich, roasty-toasty character with a subtle hint of chocolate maltiness. They’re delicious. And the flavor, in a very real way, is cleaner, crisper, more pure.

Also innovative is Peak Organic’s approach to labels. Their design is continually changing, featuring photos of beer drinkers like you and me, which were voted on by visitors to

“A friend of ours suggested, ‘Why don’t you sort of let the consumer create your advertising?’” says Cadoux. “We thought long and hard, and decided to call the company Peak Organic Brewing, and have people share peak experiences in their life. That means anything from anyone having their first child, to taking a walk with your wife, going skiing with your buddies, fishing with your dad. We have everything, all sorts of peak little moments of life.”

Available in better package stores for $7.49 to $8.49 for a six-pack.

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