There are four primary ingredients for beer – water, hops, yeast and grain/malt. Of those, hops, yeast and grain get a lot of attention. Water seems to take a backseat. It’s just a carrier for the rest of the ingredients, right? Wrong. Actually, water is just as vital to the ultimate character of the beer in question as anything else.
Going green has been embraced by a tremendous number of breweries, both large and small. You will find eco-friendly brewing solutions that range from harnessing solar power to buying greenhouse emissions credits. However, there are a handful of breweries that are taking things more than just one step further. Some truly innovative solutions have emerged when it comes to protecting the environment and greening up the planet.
Green is one of the hottest buzzwords of the century. More and more focus is being placed on sustainability, environmental protection and conservation on resources in all industries and that includes craft brewing (and big beer, too, of course). It is interesting to note the number of breweries that are going green in one way or another.
It seems like everyone is interested in going green today. Being more environmentally responsible helps to alleviate the impact of human activities on the environment, but it is not necessarily the right recipe for making beer more affordable. If you’re interested in buying your brew from a “green” brewery, you should be prepared to pay a bit more for it. While you might think that the cost increase is due to the labeling, it’s actually got a lot more to do with the different processes and products used in brewing that drives up the cost. What’s the real cost of green beer?
Many brewers consider going all organic in their brewing efforts. This is costly in terms of both time and money. For instance, it can be hard just to locate suppliers that offer truly organic brewing supplies. Even those that are labeled as “organic” often aren’t and brewers committed to using the highest quality ingredients will have to spend time (and money) to sift through the various options to locate a supplier who stands behind their organic labeling.
Auditing and Certification
In order for a brewery to make certain claims about their products, they have to be audited by the government and they must also have the right certification. That takes both time and money as well. This also requires that brewers adhere to more stringent practices. For instance, if the delivery truck smells of chemicals, a green brewer will have to send the shipment back rather than accepting it as most other brewers can do. The same applies to supplies with packaging damaged in the shipping process.
In addition, green brewers must be able to trace their ingredients back to the original source in the case of a spot audit. This ensures full accountability and also makes sure that the ingredients used really are as organic as they claim to be but it can be a real pain and often adds quite a bit of work (and added cost) to the entire brewing process. If ingredients cannot be traced back to the original source, the brewer can’t use them.
Finally, an organic brewer must also have recall plans in place just in case a batch of beer turns out to be something less than 100% organic. That takes time and planning, both of which add up to additional costs for the finished product.
When you think of beer packaging, chances are that you immediately think of the cardboard six-pack holder or the cardboard case. However, packaging goes far beyond what keeps your beer bottles or cans together. The largest consideration in beer packaging is actually those very bottles and cans! There is a growing movement toward greening up this aspect of the industry.