The eco-conscious movement influenced society’s consumption habits. As a result, the market for organic foods and sustainable production is expanding, meeting consumer demands. In addition, advanced research and technological development allow industries to adopt sustainability practices and reduce their environmental impact.
The alcohol industry can follow the market’s trends, altering high emissions and ecologically degrading development. Environmental engineers and scientists generated carbon and surface pollution reduction techniques for the beverage industry. However, before evaluating sustainable solutions, we must examine alcohol’s ecological challenges.
Alcohol’s Environmental Challenges
There are various components to alcohol production and distribution. Each element contains its own carbon footprint, composing a beverage’s total emission count.
Some alcohol production is region-specific. For example, craft beer companies traditionally generate products from snowmelt, so people in southern regions outsource their low content beverages from other states. Transporting liquids across the country significantly increases their carbon emissions.
The transportation sector generates 29% of all greenhouse gas emissions. It is the single largest contributing pollution factor. The production process additionally increases an alcoholic beverage’s ecological degradation.
Many liquors and beers derive from grain. The alcoholic beverage industry farms a high quantity of grain annually using genetic modification, pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. When storms reach farmlands, rain washes growth-enhancing elements into local water sources.
Runoff eventually reaches the ocean, altering the composition of natural resources. Algae thrive off synthetic fertilizers containing nitrogen. While they bloom, they deplete local oxygen sources, creating uninhabitable aquatic dead zones.
Inside a production facility, beer production directly generates carbon dioxide emissions. The fermentation process, which produces alcohol, derives from yeast consuming sugars. They convert the sugars into alcohol, releasing excess carbon.
The emissions leave a fermentation tank, polluting localized air. When carbon dioxide reaches the atmosphere, it contributes to the enhanced greenhouse effect.
The planet uses a natural temperature control process, reliant on a consistent atmospheric composition. It converts sunlight into heat, maintaining a life-sufficient temperature. The atmosphere also strategically releases excess heat into space, preventing overheating.
Greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, convert sunlight into heat at a higher rate than conventional atmospheric elements. They also contain excess warmth in the environment rather than releasing it off the planet. The overproduction and entrapment of heat cause a global temperature increase, driving climate change.
Another resource-exploiting element of production derives from water use. It takes nearly 148 liters of potable water to create one can of beer. Over 110 liters of potable water go into developing a single glass of wine.
Freshwater exploitation degrades the sustainability of a product. Fortunately, environmental engineers and scientists created resource conservation technology, limiting production’s and distribution’s ecological impact.
Green Alcohol Production and Consumption Techniques
Elon Musk revolutionized the sustainability of the transportation sector. Companies like Tesla produce electric vehicles, creating zero tailpipe emissions when in use. When charged with solar energy, electric vehicles are the most sustainable transportation method.
The alcoholic beverage industry may utilize electric trucks for distribution. Additionally, consumers can limit their out-of-state alcohol purchases. They can adopt a mindset similar to eating in season.
One may shrink their carbon footprint by consuming the alcohol produced in their region. This is because it significantly reduces the transportation emissions absorbed by the product.
Consumers can also limit their alcohol outsourcing by purchasing longer-lasting products. For example, liquor has a 40% higher alcohol content than a bottle of beer. Therefore, you can use less liquor than beer or wine while consuming the same amount of alcohol. It also limits water exploitation associated with beer production.
Proof Brewing Company generated an eco-friendly brewing device with Earthly Labs, reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. The gadget captures carbon dioxide released in the fermentation process. Brewers can then use the substance to carbonate their beverages and fuel packaging.
They capture over 100,000 pounds of carbon emissions annually, filtering more air pollution than 1,500 trees. Other breweries utilize rainwater harvesting systems, further enhancing the sustainability of their production processes.
Rainwater harvesting systems collect storm off puts in a collection barrel. A Solar pump then transfers the water to a purification filter. A brewer may then access potable water for beer production and cleaning.
The Most Sustainable Beverages
Various alcohol companies evaluated the demand for consciously produced products and developed organic beverages. These products limit harmful runoff generation. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) holds strict environmental guidelines for organic certification acceptance.
Grain is organic when produced on land without ecologically harmful substance application three years before receiving the certification. It limits farmers’ use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Without high nitrogen runoff entering the ocean, we can prevent eutrophication.
Some production facilities also utilize renewable energy, fueling sustainable production. For example, companies like New Belgium Brewing and Maui Brewing use solar power, decreasing their beer’s carbon footprint.
Other alcohol companies take additional sustainability measures in the packaging department. Many individuals are familiar with the photos of turtles trapped in six-ring plastic holders. Brewers challenged aquatic degradation by generating biodegradable six-pack rings.
One business even released edible six-pack rings, helping nourish animals. Coastal alcohol companies can decrease their environmental impact by adopting sustainability practices.
The Future of Alcohol
Alcohol is a significant part of American culture. Because the industry is here to stay, we must continue decreasing its ecologically degrading activities. We can incorporate renewable energy, carbon capturing and biodegradable packaging into alcohol production, increasing its sustainability.
Kara Reynolds is the Editor-in-Chief of Momish Magazine and believes in science, that climate change is real, and is doing her part to keep Mother Earth healthy for the future of her four kids.