Considering the first recorded recipe for beer dates back 4,000 years, it’s safe to say beer remains a quintessential part of cultures throughout the world—especially so in the United States. From 2010 to 2015, the number of breweries in the US grew from 1800 to over 4200. With this trend showing no signs of slowing down, water conservation and environmental sustainability have become a top priority for both local craft breweries and big-name corporations alike.
Last week, Anheuser Busch announced a plan to include 100% of their US barley growers in their SmartBarley sustainability program by 2025. According to their website, SmartBarley is a network of growers who complete a review with their agronomist after harvest, capturing key barley production characteristics and practices for an individual field. Gaps are then identified at the regional and individual level and to identify and implement the best practices specific to their operations. The corporation is also focusing on water waste. Anheuser Busch reported a 38% decrease in overall water usage over the last decade and plans to eliminate an additional 9% by 2025.
Smaller craft breweries are also playing their part in minimizing the environmental impact their business can have.
Jester King Brewery located outside of Austin, Texas, used the help of Federal Grants and local energy provider Circular Energy to cover their 11,000 square foot roof with 78 kilowatt solar panels. This enables the brewery to be 100% powered by solar energy on sunny days, which in turn sends the excess heat back to the grid, and reduces the transfer of thermal heat, making the brewing process less energy intensive.
Founder Jeffrey Stuffings only plans to continue the breweries’ expansion into greater sustainability, releasing a statement saying, “We still need to develop the ability to catch our own rainwater, treat our wastewater for irrigation, and power our boiler off of biofuels and/or brewery waste. In the years ahead, we will continue to make improvements that will ultimately make us a truly sustainable brewery.”