By Marcus Miles
Like so many other human inventions, beer takes a toll on the environment. But with present day technology, beer companies are becoming greener than ever. According to gallup.com: “At 41%, Americans' current preference for beer is among the highest Gallup has recorded since beer tumbled to 36% on this measure in 2005.”. A little less than half of Americans consume beer. Which means beer companies should be doing their job to provide fresh healthy beer for humans and providing a safe environment.
When brewing beer, there are a lot environmental impacts. Natural gas is used to brew beer and with that there are a lot of boilers being used that may produce harmful gases in the air if the company is not brewing correctly. Another problem with brewing companies is the amount of water and yeast that is being used and wasted. A lot of brewing companies generate beer that may never see the light of day for reasons the public may never see. To help solve problems such as water and yeast use, companies now educate their employees to conserve water, reuse material, and view waste streams as commodities.
The second largest craft brewery in the nation is the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Its plant in Chico, California gets 20 percent of its electricity from a big array of solar panels, operating a system of solar grids with the ability of producing 1.4 megawatts of AC power. Sierra Nevada also works with a group of green businesses to track, report, and decrease greenhouse releases statewide. Currently, Sierra Nevada is a leader of environmental sustainability, according to their website.
In 2012, Sierra Nevada produced 900,000 barrels of beer, an 11% increase from the previous year, created a waste water treatment on site, and created a big room event hall on site dedicated to the sustainability program. In order to remain sustainable Sierra Nevada has been creating a “zero waste” process, focusing on water conservation and educating employees on remaining a sustainable company.
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