Beer’s carbon footprint

Measuring how a pint of beer affects the environment

We’re all familiar with the potential negative health effects of drinking beer—but what about beer’s impact on the environment? As with any product that requires shipping, buying your beer from local sources can make a significant difference. The carbon footprint of beer varies based on whether it’s bottled or draught, where it’s produced and where it’s consumed. Taking into account such factors as ingredients, electricity, equipment, packaging and transport, here is an average pint of beer’s carbon footprint, according to The Guardian’s Green Living Blog:

• Locally brewed cask ale at the pub: 300 grams carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).

• Extensively transported bottled beer purchased from a shop: 900g CO2e.

For comparison, the average can of Coca-Cola soda has a carbon footprint of 170g CO2e.

Here in Chico, of course, we have the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., which places a strong emphasis on reducing its carbon footprint through efforts such as solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells, among other inventive sustainable efforts.