Photo by Julianna Arjes

Sustainable Beer: Two Examples from the Craft Beer Industry (Post 1 of 4)


The craft beer industry is growing, and beer drinkers in the Pacific Northwest are becoming more and more savvy on how their brew is made. This is good news because the beer industry uses a lot of water. In fact, on average, it takes approximately seven gallons of water to produce just one gallon of beer.[1] This measure of water use only considers the production process and not the entire lifecycle of the product. In addition to having a high water-footprint, the global beer industry has a considerable impact on carbon emissions as well if considering the agricultural impact of the grains required and the transportation associated with supply chains and shipping.

Two emerging trends in the craft beer industry are starting to address these environmental impacts: water conservation and biological farming. As water scarcity and climate change are becoming more evident, consumers are starting to pay attention to their individual contribution to these problems. When faced with options, consumers are starting to choose more sustainable brands. The beer industry is a great example of consumers voting with their dollar, incentivizing craft beer to become more sustainable. According to a recent NPR report, beer drinkers are willing to pay more for sustainably-produced beer.[2] In fact, they found that craft beer drinkers were willing to pay nearly 40% more for sustainably produced beer.

Check back next week to learn how Portland-based Hopworks Urban Brewery conserves water through process and partnerships.


[1]Agnew, Michael. 2016. "The Thirsty Business of Beer." Growler Mag. March 2. Accessed June 2, 2019. https://growlermag.com/the-thirsty-business-of-beer-how-breweries-are-confronting-the-industrys-water-problem/

[2]Cohen, Rachael D. 2018. "Good News For 'Green' Brews: Consumers Say They'll Pay More For Sustainable Beer." NPR. October 13. Accessed June 2, 2019. https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/10/13/656608166/consumers-say-theyre-willing-to-pay-more-for-beer-when-it-s-produced-sustainably



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