Over the past decade, the idea of eating local has gained a lot of momentum in the United States. There is still plenty of educating to do, but the growing support of sustainable agriculture programs, CSAs, and farmers markets all speak to the value people place on this food movement. As more and more restaurant menus site the farms from which their products are sourced, it comes as no surprise to see avid locavores carry their stance beyond food and into the beverage realm.
As both PR professionals and libation-loving individuals, there is more than one reason why you should serve local both on your plate and in your glass. Here are a few:
1. You’ll support local producers
This one may be obvious, but it’s a major element. There are over two million farms across the United States, and they are the backbone of America. As consumers, we are the influencers of their production. If we ask for local, they are going to supply local. If this small notion spreads to a national movement, the often-attacked high price point for sustainable products will fall. This, in turn, would give small farms with big ideas the chance to distribute more local goods to their community. In other words, the delicious samples you try at brewery tastings, like those at Bad Seed’s Tap Room, will have a chance to make it to the shelves. Or those peaches you picked up at the farmers market? The perfect addition to your brunch bellini.
2. It opens your eyes to new tastes, flavors and ideas
Using what’s locally available might be seen as a limiting factor, but innovative producers take it as an impetus to think outside of the box and to create something new. One of my favorite examples of this is Greenhook Ginsmiths’ Beach Plum Gin Liqueur. Inspired by English Sloe Gin, these guys are using wild plums native to the beaches of Long Island to create an exciting twist on a classic through small batch goodness.
3. There is access to an emerging market
Growing support of local agriculture gains speed with industry influencers. Events like Just Food’s “Let Us Eat Local” bring together not just local chefs and restaurants, but also breweries and wineries to fund family farms and shed light on the benefits of eating – and drinking! – local. These events are a great resource if you want to connect with the lovavore community and tap into developing trends.
Whether you approach the food and beverage world as a community advocate or an industry expert, the budding conversation around farm-to-table beverages is significant. Don’t worry wine lovers, you can still drink your favorite bottle of Burgundy, we just encourage you to keep your minds (and mouths) open to a more locally focused cocktail menu.