Whenever I do a bit of homebrewing I’m acutely aware of just how much water the process uses. Aside from the water that goes into making the beer there’s all the water that is used during the washing of bottles, fermenters and the like. I feel so bad about it that I’ve taken to pouring the water from the cleaning and sanitising into large buckets for use on the garden or lawn. And I chuck the remnants from dryhopping on the veggie garden too.
According to the Oxford Companion to Beer, making this stuff is rife with environmental guilt. Barley farming uses heaps of water too, because brewers want a plump kernel.
The ratio of “finished beer-to-water ratio” is 4.5 barrels of water to one barrel of beer. So that’s a lot of water.
But the biggest impact is actually refrigeration, which accounts for more than 25 per cent of a brewery’s carbon footprint. At least I don’t refrigerate my homebrew until I’m ready to drink it.