Arizona State University professor finds beer breweries shall improve sustainability processes

Alistair Dominguez

PHOENIX, AZ - Many recent craft brew industries have found lacking energy sustainability awareness in their production process, according to Carola Grebitus, an associate professor of food industry management in the Morrison School of Agribusiness at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus.

The reason for this issue is industry owners don't have time concerning it as they have to maintain the quality of beers they are brewing until midnight. Also, they doubt customers will pay extra to support sustainably produced beers.

With Alicia Rosburg, her co-author from the University of Iowa, Grebitus conducted her research about sustainability implementations in 29 craft breweries in Iowa. Some results were as follows:

• More than 70 percent were very conscious about environmental issues, and more than 75 percent always used environmentally friendly appliances whenever they could.

• Less than 50 percent evaluated the brewing process and invented opportunities to improve the sustainability process.

• Only around 10 percent tracked the energy and wastewater flow management; the least environmental plan assessed by the brewers.

The research was also conducted to assess brewers’ opinions about customers paying a lot extra to support these sustainability efforts. About 90 percent of brewers believe their customers may give extra credits if they achieve a certain sustainability certification level.

Grebitus added the beer brewing industry is growing significantly at 7,000 industries nowadays from 1,500 at 12 years ago. As it is a water-intensive industry, she advised brewers to begin their sustainability plan, including paying attention to water usage and being aware of leaks in their brewery.

She believes these environmental-saving methods are getting attention from many brewing owners and plans to bring the survey to a national scale if the funding is sufficient.

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