We have only seen a month of 2020 so far, and yet that short amount of time has been filled with both incredible environmental tragedy, as well as hope in looking towards the future.
As a result of climate change, Australia is seeing its worst drought in decades. Through the rising temperatures and dry climate, wildfires have devastated nearly 18 million acres of land across the continent. These fires have also affected half a billion or more animals either through habitat destruction or loss of life. These fires serve as a very real reminder that as we enter a new decade, climate disasters are increasing at an alarming rate; a recipe for further disaster.
So the age-old question, what can we do to fix this issue that is impending climate change? There are hundreds of solutions and thousands of answers to this question, but we are here to take an industry-specific approach to make a small effort in combating climate change.
The previous decade was definitely a decade of tremendous growth for the craft beer industry. 2018 alone saw a 3.9% increase in craft beer sales volume. As well, craft beer now holds more than 13% market share of the overall beer market (Brewers Association 2020). The opportunity for growth in the craft beer industry looks to continue moving forward. The Sustainable Brewing Society (SBS) is looking to change the standards of brewing and advocate for practices that can make less environmental impacts, regardless of how small the scale.
Many brewing practices that were once considered sustainable, are now considered standard. Simple applications such as diverting spent grain from a landfill is now a practice that many breweries have the opportunity to participate in. Keeping records of utility billings and tracking those usage numbers based on production is another reasonable way that breweries are taking simple actions to minimize energy usage. There are even breweries now that have renewable energy sources at their facility; this can be a huge factor in lowering a brewery’s carbon emissions.
The Sustainable Brewing Society has big goals for 2020. As craft breweries continue to gain traction, and as consumers become increasingly aware of their preferences and want more responsibly produced products, we believe that we will continue seeing an industry push towards environmental stewardship. The SBS stands to be a resource for those breweries and industry professionals who wish to take steps forward in sustainability, and for those who also might need additional technical guidance.
We are excited to see that more growth has already started to happen in 2020, and are even more excited to explore the new trends in sustainable brewing for the decade ahead. For an industry full of great people who make environmental stewardship a priority, let's continue to educate and collaborate with others so that everyone can enjoy Green Beer All Year!
About the Author
Iowa Waste Reduction Center