Monday, January 18, 2010

Environmental Impact of Beer

Ok, I know i said previously i didn't want this to turn into a social commentary, but after seeing and purchasing Baraka, and every 6-12 months reading an ecology book, it got me interested to see what the environmental impact beer production and consumption has on the world. Doing a quick search on wikipedia I found the following:

Draught beer's environmental impact can be 68% lower than bottled beer due to packaging differences.[139][140] Home brewing can reduce the environmental impact of beer via less packaging and transportation.[141]

A life cycle study of one beer brand, including grain production, brewing, bottling, distribution and waste management, shows that the CO2 emissions from a 6-pack of micro-brew beer is about 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds).[142] The loss of natural habitat potential from the 6-pack of micro-brew beer is estimated to be 2.5 square meters (26 square feet).[143]

Downstream emissions from distribution, retail, storage and disposal of waste can be over 45% of a bottled micro-brew beer's CO2 emissions.[142]

Where legal, the use of a refillable jug, reusable bottle or other reusable containers to transport draught beer from a store or a bar, rather than buying pre-bottled beer, can reduce the environmental impact of beer consumption.[144]

On one hand, by always looking for new beers to try, imported bottled beer would create alot of CO2 emissions. However, with the homebrewing I would hope that this is negated with the resuse of materials, and lack of packaging and transportation. I guess it is one of those things people don't think about. Where did this beer/wine/spirit come from, and what has had to happen to get it into my hand and down my gullet? we can look at many things in the world this way, and got me to try out a carbon calculation ( Between car, flights and electricity, I produce about 5 tonnes of CO2 a year, which I am happy to say is the global average for an individual, much less than the 28 tonnes supposedly used by each individual in developed nations. while it doesn't cater for everything i do, is a decent guide to get us thinking about how much we use. luckily i am able to ride my bike around alot and I also make greenpower contributions.

Anyway, just thought i would like to share that with whoever reads this, and myself when i come back to read this blog in the future.

As for my lack of communication on this blog in recent weeks, in the lead up to Australia Day, I have decided I will be tasting many beers that my friends gave to me for my birthday last month that I haven't had a chance to try yet, and putting them up here. the first one will be later today, probably while watching australia beat pakistan in the cricket.

Cheers to more beers,


PS: Seeing this post has now had over 100 views and is the most viewed post on this blog, I have focused on this topic again to update my position on it in another post. I would appreciate your thoughts on this obviously interesting topic from those reading this.

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