Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=159478
Story Retrieval Date: 4/17/2015 11:55:02 AM CST

Top Stories
Features

CJ HOLTZMAN/MEDILL

Craft breweries are striving to lower their water consumption to help their businesses and the environment.


Beer manufacturers trying to conserve water

by CJ Holtzman
March 04, 2010


Breweries are typically among the largest consumers for water utilities. This is one reason many beer manufacturers are trying new ways to cut back on the water that goes into making beer.

Craft breweries will work together March 26 on how to improve their water efficiency further, at the Great Lakes Water Conservation Workshop for Craft Brewers & Cheesemakers in Rochester, NY.

It could take up to 9 gallons of water to make one gallon of beer, said Thomas Pape a technical advisor at the Alliance for Water Efficiency.  This is due to many of the production areas that require water-intensive actions,  from growing the hops to making the paper for packaging.

He said some companies have been able to cut their water use by 33 percent and get to a ratio of 3.5 gallons of water to a gallon of beer.

“It’s a huge impact because what they’re doing can cross over to the entire beverage industry,” Pape said. “Craft breweries are really the ones that are seeing how far the can push it down.”

These new initiatives have certainly not been hurting the craft breweries’ bottom line. James Watson, a financial analyst for HBSC, said that although the last five years have been difficult for the beer industry, craft beers have been doing well above trend growth.

Water conservation is a global issue that should be addressed now, in order to preserve a water supply for future generations, said F. Edward Glatfelter, water conservation program director at the Alliance for the Great Lakes.