You’ve cycled home, put out the recycling, and put on the washing at 30oC – surely you’ve earned yourself a cold beer. But before you pour, consider the following
It may be nature’s nectar, but the global beer industry takes its toll on the environment. Vast quantities of grain and hops are needed to manufacture the 100 billion-plus litres of beer that the world consumes annually, with hops requiring an average of 14 pesticide and fungicide treatments a year.
Fermentation releases a large amount of CO2 and many beers are clarified using isinglass, a collagen made from the bladders of tropical fish, making them unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans. A considerable amount of water is wasted in cleaning brewery equipment; there is also the hangover of 300 billion beer bottles produced each year
But for the discerning drinker, there are simple measures to enjoy a sustainable pint. Locate your local microbrewery, drink draught, order organic and remember that recycling just one beer can saves enough energy to power your TV for three hours. There are also several breweries across the world tapping into the idea that beer can be both good and green. Adnams in Suffolk, UK, Sierra Nevada in California, US, and Cascade in Tasmania, Australia all produce a carbon-neutral beer.
Or you could always join Obama in brewing your own. This cuts down on wasteful packaging, saves fuel and can make use of local, organic ingredients. Cheers!