News / Vancouver

EPIC toasts World Fair Trade Day with new beer

The EPIC Sustainable Living Expo is raising a glass to World Fair Trade Day Saturday with a first in Canada: Fair Trade Certified beer.

Samples of the beer, a Belgian Pilsner called Mongozo, are being offered at the Fair Trade Vancouver booth all weekend.

"A lot of the products that are being put into beer do come from the developing world. Mogozo, for instance, is rice-based," explained Sean McHugh, executive director of Fair Trade Vancouver, who will speak about World Fair Trade Day on the EPIC main stage at 1 p.m. Saturday.

"It's the first in Canada for sure, and I don't know if I've ever seen Fair Trade Certified beer before, outside of Mongozo, anywhere in the world. There's lot of wines available on the market, but this is the first time I've ever seen a Fair Trade beer."

The World Fair Trade Organization creates opportunities for economically disadvantage producers in over 70 countries, and is celebrating more than five decades of fighting poverty and climate change by encouraging socially and environmentally sustainable practices.

"Fair Trade is all about relationships, and building a direct, more respectful, more equitable trading system, and World Fair Trade Day celebrates bringing that kind of relationship back into how we conduct ourselves in business and trade," McHue said.

"The impacts are huge... but the biggest pieces are definitely on the education and health side of things, so schools, uniforms, school supplies, health clinics, dental clinics, you name it, all you'll see as direct outcomes from the Fair Trade system."

McHue said Fair Trade fans can look forward to seeing a wider variety of alcoholic Fair Trade products coming to Canada soon, including liquors made from South American quinoa.

Tickets for EPIC are $12 online or $15 at the door. The trade show, which began Friday, continues at the Vancouver Convention Centre West building from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, and 11a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.