- Planet Possible
How to brew a greener beer
Innovators in beer, wine, and alcohol production are trying to transform one of the most environmentally damaging industries.
From start to finish, making alcoholic beverages asks a lot from the environment. It takes about 20 gallons of water to produce a single eight-ounce serving of beer and 30 gallons per five-ounce serving of wine. Then there’s the glass and aluminum production for alcohol containers, the plastic and cardboard for packaging, and energy consumption for home and retail refrigeration. Many types of alcohol are only made in one or a few places—tequila in Mexico, scotch in Scotland, bourbon in Kentucky—requiring long-distance transportation to reach consumers.
The most common ingredients in alcohol production—grapes, wheat, barley, hops, sugar—are some of the most water- and energy-intensive crops on the planet. Brewing and