How to Drink Beer Responsibly (for the Planet)
Three cheers for sustainability.
In honor of National Drink Beer Day, we’re bringing you five tips for environmentally friendly beer consumption so you can drink beer as if your planet depended on it!
1. Drink Sustainably.
The movement toward craft beers and microbrews has been accompanied by a renewed push for environmental sustainability. Craft beer companies like New Belgium, Sierra Nevada, and Brooklyn Brewery have enshrined sustainability in their business models. New Belgium is powered entirely by renewable energy. Sierra Nevada ships its beer by rail, which is 50% more efficient than doing so by truck. And Brooklyn Brewery produces its energy using wind power.
Read more: Beer: The Beverage of Change Makers
2. Pick Beer Over Liquor.
This Mother Jones article gives a good overview of the environmental impact of different alcohols and beer tends to fare better than harder alcohols. According to the list, beer production uses less energy than liquor production, and also produces less water waste. Of the liquors, rum and tequila are the worst for the environment.
3. Go In on a Keg.
Kegs can be used multiple times to transport large quantities of beer, and can also be recycled. A keg can last for 15-20 years, and according to Slate, they are lighter than glass bottles in terms of packaging per serving.
4. No Keg? Drink From a Can
Canned beers weigh less than bottled beers, giving them a smaller carbon footprint for transportation. If your beer is coming from far away, a can is the way to go. Bottled beer advocates will argue, however, that the overall lifespan of an aluminum can is worse for the environment because making an aluminum can takes more energy than making a glass bottle.
5. Have Some Ice Cream With Your Beer.
New Belgium has collaborated with Ben & Jerry’s on an exciting new beer option that also promotes environmental awareness. Keep your eyes out for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale. Proceeds from the sales of this beer will go toward the non-profit Protect Our Winter, which focuses on climate change education.