PORTLAND, Ore. – Brewers and beer drinkers know the most basic ingredient in their beverage of choice is water.
Portland beer makers like Bridgeport Brewing Company get their supply straight from the city. A city that could soon put fluoride in its water supply.
Brewmaster Jeff Edgerton says his beer is virtually fluoride-free.
“There is a natural amount of fluoride that occurs in our water as it is,” he said.
Friday evening, the City of Portland revealed a proposal to start fluoridating the water in 18 months, which is much sooner than city leaders have ever said it could begin.
Opponents of fluoride in city water believe the move was made to make it more difficult for them to gather signatures in time and stop fluoridation by a public vote.
Some beer makers are concerned that the addition of fluoride could affect their business.
“It doesn’t affect the brewing process per se. It’s pretty inert in beer. There’s no flavor,” said Edgerton. “Personally, I don’t want it forced on me. As a brewmaster, I have to think about my customers. I have to think about the people buying the beer and I don’t think they want it forced on them either.”
Fluoride supporters believe it can curb cavities in kids, while opponents believe it’s a dangerous chemical.
“Frankly, I wouldn’t know whether there was fluoride added to the water in the beer that I drink or not,” said beer drinker John LaVerdiere.
“I think it’s actually a good thing,” said Charmaine LaVerdiere.
Edgerton said Bridgeport isn’t taking a side, except when it comes to what customers care about.
“If people perceive it as being something that’s in the beer that’s going to cause them some ill health effects down the road, that’s the thing we have to be concerned about,” said Edgerton.
“They expect craft brews to be natural ingredients so in a way it taints the whole thing.”