Contributors to blogpost: Nathan Manser, Ann Sager, Brian Wells, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of South Florida
Over 70 percent of the global demand for water is derived from the production of food and beverages in both agricultural and industrial applications. Beer is the fifth most popular beverage on the planet and potable water is the principal component of beer, typically composing 90-95% of the total mass, where 4 to 7 liters are required to produce one liter of beer. Historically many breweries utilize groundwater as their influent because of its cleanliness, uniqueness, and uniformity; however, as water becomes increasingly valuable to society the need for efficient water management at these facilities is important. A recent publication highlights the environmental challenges at large scale brewing facilities and another presents some interesting sustainable wastewater practices that could be transferred to smaller scale breweries.
While this video provides only a small context of what is being done in water intensive industries such as brewing; the overarching objective is to stimulate a discussion about where our food and beverages come from. For example, does the efficiency gained from the mass production of a beverage offset the embodied energy of transportation and product placement?
We hope that you will participate in our discussion on our YouTube video website related to these topics:
- Select one sustainable practice from the three breweries presented and discuss how this practice gives them an advantage in an economic, social and political context. Think in terms of marketing, permitting water supplies, using local resources and keeping them local.
- As a consumer, does the origin of your food and beverage products influence your decision to buy them? What are things that you do as a consumer to reduce the water and nutrient flows in your diet?
- How could this video be improved?
This is the blog for week 5 of the Spring 2015 “Reclaim Is…” seminar.