While swatting away my 4th "your car's extended warranty is about to expire" call today (including one in Spanish), I consoled myself reading about new ideas on how to reduce the environmental impact of brewing beer:
From start to finish, making alcoholic beverages asks a lot from the environment. It takes about 20 gallons of water to produce a single eight-ounce serving of beer and 30 gallons per five-ounce serving of wine. Then there’s the glass and aluminum production for alcohol containers, the plastic and cardboard for packaging, and energy consumption for home and retail refrigeration. Many types of alcohol are only made in one or a few places—tequila in Mexico, scotch in Scotland, bourbon in Kentucky—requiring long-distance transportation to reach consumers.
The most common ingredients in alcohol production—grapes, wheat, barley, hops, sugar—are some of the most water- and energy-intensive crops on the planet. Brewing and fermenting also require huge amounts of energy.
Global transportation accounts for an estimated 20 percent of beer’s carbon footprint. Beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages are generally shipped in climate-controlled vehicles to prevent spoiling. “There's a lot of stainless steel, water, and air being shipped around the country and around the world by virtue of the technology that's being used today,” [Sustainable Beverage Technologies CEO Gary] Tickle says.
Other ideas include yeast that produces hoppy flavinoids, heat sinks, using waste products to generate heat, and carbon offsets.
With the exception of the yeast-made hop flavors, that all sounds good to me.