Sustainability in Brewing

The State of Sustainability in Brewing

Recent beer trends show that craft brewers are moving their focus to target a more health-conscious crowd as craft lagers have become more popular among crowds looking for beers with lower concentrations of alcohol and calories. In addition to attracting a more health-conscious crowd, craft brewing companies also strive to reduce their environmental impact.

Traditional beer production is simply not an environmentally friendly process. That’s why the brewing industry is looking for resources on how to bring sustainability to brewing. Today, more than 9,000 breweries are operating in the United States. For these breweries to stay open well into the future, they must make sustainability a core concern of their breweries today.  

This article will highlight sustainability in the brewing industry and address the role the BrewMonitor® System can play in furthering sustainability efforts.

What Is Craft Brewing Sustainability? 

Trying to make beer production an environmentally friendly process is not an easy task. Brewing beer is not only financially costly but can be environmentally costly. This is because brewing beer requires ingredients from reliable agriculture producers, a good water supply, and a stable energy source to heat and cool the beer during production. 

Craft brewers looking to incorporate sustainability into their operations are essentially “playing on hard mode” as financial gain is no longer the only concern. For example, while a traditional brewing business may be solely profit-driven, a sustainable brewing business is based on profits, the planet, and people. For craft brewers, achieving craft brewing sustainability requires finding a balance between economic viability, environmental health, and social equality. 

How Is Sustainability Impacting the Brewing Industry?  

The concept of craft brewing sustainability is having a significant impact on craft brewers and their processes. One of the biggest environmental concerns regarding brewing beer is water usage. Barley farming and beer production are the largest consumers of water. Breweries also use a significant amount of water that never even goes into beer. Most of this water goes down the drain as wastewater. In efforts to bring sustainability to brewing, brewers are looking for resources that allow them to implement water-use-reduction efforts. Along with implementing water-use-reduction efforts, brewing companies aim to address other core environmental issues within the brewing industry.

In general, environmental issues found within the brewing industry can be categorized into the broad categories of upstream, operations, and downstream. 

  • Upstream: Refers to producing and transporting raw materials that are turned into beer or packaging for beer. 
  • Operations: Refers to the resource consumption tied directly to the process of making beer in the brewery. 
  • Downstream: Refers to the resources used in the transportation and refrigeration of beer after it leaves the brewery.  

There are three primary concerns regarding the upstream environmental impact of brewing beer. These upstream environmental concerns include: 

  • Glass manufacturing: Glass bottles require significant energy to produce. When breweries use glass bottles with a high percentage of recycled content, they can use significantly less energy. 
  • Barley production: Traditional methods for growing barley require repeated tilling and pesticide application on the land. To reduce the environmental footprint associated with barley production, low or no-till methods could be implemented as well as the use of organic malts to reduce the carbon footprint of fertilizer use.   
  • Malting: Barley is generally steeped, germinated, dried, and sometimes roasted during the malt production process for brewing. The drying and roasting are very energy-intensive as they use significant electrical and heat energy.

In addition, the brewing industry is always looking to bring new technology and innovation into the brewing process to maintain the quality of their beer while also cutting down on environmental impacts. One way that brewers can begin cutting down on their environmental impact while still producing high-quality beer is by utilizing the BrewMonitor System.  

The BrewMonitor System Aligns With the Values of Sustainability 

Precision Fermentation’s BrewMonitor System aligns with the values of craft brewing sustainability measures as the BrewMonitor System helps ensure complete consistency, increases manufacturing efficiency, and does so while enabling greater business profitability. The BrewMonitor System ensures consistency through a purpose-built, real-time, end-to-end fermentation monitoring and analysis solution to enable brewers to increase quality and profitability through greatly enhanced fermentation-process control. 

In addition, the BrewMonitor System brings the “Internet of Things” (IoT) to the brewing process by collecting fermentation data from existing tanks and streaming it to a brewing company’s PC, tablet, or smartphone, in real-time. This process transforms fermentation tanks into powerhouses of insight, ensuring brewed-product quality, increasing production options, and saving time and money. Are you Interested in learning more about how a BrewMonitor could help cut down on your brewery’s environmental footprint while tracking your brew’s data? If so, schedule a live demo today.