Responsible Drinking: Helping the Planet Pint by Pint

Posted by on September 13, 2014 in Eco-Friendly, Environment with 0 Comments

Callum Beals | SierraClub

No one needs an excuse to drink good beer, but here's one anyhow: 2014 is the best year ever to find ecofriendly ales. Virtually nonexistent 20 years ago, green beer is now being cranked out by brewers of all sizes, from micro to mega.


“When I opened in 1996, I was barely able to find organic malt,” says Ron Silberstein, who started San Francisco's ThirstyBear Brewing Co. and sits on the Good Food Awards Beer Committee. “But as more people use organic products, it has become easier to brew sustainably.”

Microbreweries like ThirstyBear often have a drastically smaller carbon footprint than their giant competitors. On average, a locally brewed pint is 300 percent kinder to the planet than a bottle of beer that has traveled far. Microbrews make up just 7.8 percent of beers by volume, but the number of small breweries grew by 18 percent last year.

To even be considered for a Good Food Award, beer makers must recycle water, source locally, and not use genetically modified ingredients. To win, they have to be tasty, too.

While the market for easy-on-the-earth beer ingredients has grownit helps that prices have droppedit's still relatively minor. Silberstein admits that his commitment to staying organic limits the variety of beers he can make.

Another challenge for eco-brewers is recycling and conserving water. “It's the number-one ingredient in brewing,” says Cheri Chastain, the sustainability manager at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. “You can generate more energy, but water is that one thing you can't make.”

Sierra Nevada's Chico, California, brewing plant has more than 10,000 solar panels and a big on-site water treatment facilitya setup envied by many smaller breweries.

Others are coming up with eco-solutions as varied as America's microbrews. Dave's BrewFarm in Wisconsin has “Jake,” a wind-powered generator that delivers most of the brewery's power. Anderson Valley Brewing in Boonville, California, deploys goats to mow its grass.

“There's something new every day,” Chastain says. “The industry is growing so quickly. It's really an exciting time.”

Keep reading for five of the Good Food Awards' winning beers

Tags: , , , ,


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

New Title

NOTE: Email is optional. Do NOT enter it if you do NOT want it displayed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the articles on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use' must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.
Send this to a friend