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Our campaign co-founder, Jimmy Carbone, sat down with brewers at the Belgium Comes to Cooperstown Beer Festival for his weekly radio show, Beer Sessions Radio, on Heritage Radio Network. Simon Thorpe, Phil Leinhart, and Larry Bennett of Brewery Ommegang, along with Jeff O’Neill of Peekskill Brewery discussed fracking, water, and beer. Jimmy posed the question to this band of beer geeks: how important is water for beer? Phil Leinhart, Ommegang’s brewmaster, replied “Water is the most important ingredient in beer. Beer is water!” “The classic beer styles of the world are all based on their water… a lot of the character those beers have are basically from the water.” The differing watersheds upstate give each brewery’s beer it’s unique character. If that water supply is contaminated there is no way to make good beer and these breweries are out of business. “That is why when we heard about hyrdo-fracking and the potential of having our water contaminated with things like diesel fuel and organic solvents it would be the end of us, basically.” And the reason that Larry Bennett of Ommegang has spent so much of his time representing Ommegang in the fight against fracking. Additionally, the water from upstate flows into the New York City watershed, which, while technically protected from fracking, would contaminate New York City’s water. “When it gets messed up up here it all flows downstream.” Simon Thorpe would also like to know, “why is it that it is not ok to do this in New York City but it is ok to frack in other parts of the State?” That is an excellent question! So what can we do to support our local breweries? Join the fight to stop fracking and drink more local beer!