Like most wonderful things in this world — smoking, fast food, unprotected sex, the circus — beer's got something of a sinister underside. Namely: It's not a very environmentally friendly or socially responsible industry, at least in the mainstream — and malt, one of its key ingredients, is produced and distributed almost entirely by big agribusinesses of the rainforest-destroying, union-busting, International Labor Rights Fund-getting-sued-by variety. Even in the progressive Bay Area, where we harvest our own honey and interrogate our waiters about sourcing, that part of the process is largely ignored, or at the very least viewed as a necessary evil. Not so for Kevin Christensen, an Oakland-based labor organizer and amateur brewmaster who's currently hard at work reimagining the way the malt supply functions — and, in the process, how beer industry at large operates — by joining forces with local farmers and breweries to create a micro-malting and brewing company, still in its nascent stages but very much in the works. Now that's something to drink to.
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