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How you can support Georgia’s watershed by drinking beer
Cherry Street
From left, Alisa, Nick and Rick Tanner at Cherry Street Brewing Co-op.

The cleaner the water, the better the beer.

Georgia breweries are teaming up with Chattahoochee Riverkeeper to protect the life blood of their tasty beer. 

“Not only does clean water contribute to a better product, it contributes to life and sustainability,” Nick Tanner, founder and brewmaster at Cherry Street Brewing, said. 

The Quality Beer Tour calls on seven breweries to each produce one Chattahoochee River-inspired beer. 

Each month from March through September, one brewery will release a beer and give a portion of their sales to the nonprofit’s water monitoring programs. 

Meanwhile, the breweries will host trash cleanups, paddle trips and other outings to raise awareness of Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s efforts. 

Cherry Street brewing will kick off the initiative in March, followed by Gainesville’s Left Nut Brewing Co. in April, Wild Leap Brew Co. in May, Steady Hand Beer Co. in June, Terrapin Taproom’s ATL Brewlab in July, Pontoon Brewing Company in August and Reformation Brewery in September. 

Becca K. Powell, the nonprofit’s development director, said the beer tour is a part of Quality Hooch, a joint effort led by Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and The Orvis Company.

She said the two started the campaign in 2016. It includes starting a different watershed protection program each year, and, so far, the Quality Hooch has raised $80,000 to support Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s mission.

For 2020, Powell said the nonprofit and retail company will turn their gazes to the communities along the Chattahoochee.

“Whether you’re fly-fishing, kayaking or shooting the Hooch, a tasty beer always makes the day that much better,” Powell told The Times. “With the craft beer industry exploding over the past five years in metro Atlanta and surrounding areas, we thought, let’s celebrate all these breweries that depend on a clean river to make their product.”

When Powell first reached out to breweries in Georgia, she expected to only host the tour in the summer. But responses flooded into her inbox, leading her to extend the initiative. 

“The big message here is community,” Powell said. “For so many years we’ve been Atlanta-centric. We want to recognize this is one big river, and a lot of people rely on it for a lot of different reasons.”

Tanner, who runs Cherry Street Brewing in Cumming, already has a beer in mind for the tour. He plans on brewing an easy-drinking blonde ale called Helen Yeah. 

The name gets its inspiration from the brewery’s annual staff retreat, which is in Helen. 

“This year, the saying of the outing was, ‘Helen Yeah,’” Tanner said. “When this opportunity arose to do this collaboration, it was only natural to call it Helen Yeah. It’s a feel good beer.”

Tanner partnered with Chattahoochee Riverkeeper for a couple of reasons. He said the nonprofit’s values aligned with Cherry Street Brewing’s mission of promoting community, sustainability and education. 

“They’re good people working hard toward what they believe in and we’d love to be a part of that,” Tanner said. “We like to reduce our carbon footprint on Earth.”

Cherry Street Brewing, located at 5810 Bond St. in Cumming, will hold its beer release party on Saturday, Feb. 29, in its taproom. The brewery’s cleanup will follow on Saturday, March 7, at the Big Creek Greenway in Forsyth. 

For more information about the Quality Beer Tour or Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s efforts, visit

See original story by Gainesville Times staff writer Kelsey Podo here.

Beer tour
Graphic: Chattahoochee Riverkeeper is teaming up with seven Georgia breweries to raise money and promote the watershed in Georgia and the Southeast. Illustration by Ethan Howard.