How important are the ingredients that go into the food people eat? Extremely important based on recent consumer trends, with a study by Chicago-based data firm Label Insight finding that 86 percent of consumerswould have a higher sense of trust in food producers and retailers that provide access to easy-to-understand ingredient information. Combine this finding with the continuing focus by younger consumers toward natural ingredients, and the result is more pressure than ever in the food and beverage industry to focus on the quality and transparency in the ingredients that go into products.

Along those same lines, when it comes to making beverages, the key ingredient in any product is water, and sourcing it can be an issue for beverage makers. Currently, there is a legal battle that has the potential to impact many products in the state of Hawaii, and the industry leading the argument is craft beer.

The Case for Clean Water

In an ongoing dispute, the County of Maui has been in a battle with the Hawaii Wildlife Fund to overturn a ruling in 2012 that indicated that the Clean Water Act applied to pollutants in groundwater. A group of over 60 brewers have requested that the Supreme Court rule on the matter, as they believe if the original finding were overturned, this precedent would allow for additional pollution to be added into water supplies nationwide. The craft brewers contend that rolling back regulations has potential to negatively impact the quality of the water used in the brewing process making certain beers unpalatable.

The Brewery Battle

This case could to significantly impact the brewery industry, which has continued to see solid growth in recent years, with 7-percent higher revenues and 4-percent higher volume in 2018compared to the prior year. The craft brew industry has largely “grown up” in an era governed by the Clean Water Act, and there is significant concern that this case could allow companies to bypass environmental protection and impact the quality of water.

As this case develops, it could significantly impact many companies in the food and beverage space, even those outside of Hawaii.

To learn more about current legislation like this and how it could affect your business, contact the GHJ Food and Beverage team here.

Holoubek Andrew Halfbody

Andrew Holoubek

Andrew Holoubek, CPA, has more than 10 years of public accounting experience and provides auditing services for clients in a variety of industries, including manufacturing/distribution, food and beverage, health and wellness, technology, consumer products, financial services and nonprofits and…Learn More