From the farm to the pint glass: How Michigan hops are produced

Earlier this month, some Michigan State University Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics graduate students and faculty attended (and participated in) Dog Star Hops’ harvest. Hops are such an interesting specialty crop, with one of the most labor-intensive growing processes and unique harvests. Traditionally, the Pacific Northwest (PNW) states of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon have grown […]

Sustainable Brewing. Part V: Miscellaneous Practices

Although I divide sustainability into water, energy, and landfill diversion practices, breweries are also engaging in miscellaneous strategies that help reduce their environmental impact and improve community relationships. Examples of miscellaneous practices include forming “green” committees, partnering with environmental organizations, and supporting educational programs. Founders Brewing Company created “Strike Force Green” to help build community […]

Sustainable Brewing. Part IV: Landfill Diversion

Though water and energy come to mind first when thinking of natural resources and sustainability, it is also crucial for brewers to consider how to handle and reduce waste as each barrel of beer produces approximately 0.14 U.S. tons (280 lbs) of solid waste (Brewers Association, 2017). Landfill diversion practices include reusing byproducts of the […]

Sustainable Brewing. Part III: Energy and Carbon Reduction

Reducing thermal and electrical energy use—and thus reducing carbon emissions—impacts brewers’ environmental and financial sustainability by reducing both contributions to global climate change and energy expenditures, which can account for as much as 8% of a brewery’s overhead costs (Olajire, 2012; Sloane, 2012). Some low-cost energy efficient strategies that nearly any brewery can adopt are […]

Sustainable Brewing. Part II: Water and Wastewater

Beer is 90-95% water and is therefore a vital input in craft beer production (Olajire, 2012). However, water use goes beyond what is seen in the bottle or can. Water is used, and wastewater is generated, in nearly all components of the brewing process. Calculating total water use is essential to knowing the true environmental […]

Sustainable Brewing. Part I: Introduction

Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be posting about sustainability in the brewing process. Specifically, I will focus on water, energy, and solid waste, as these were the facets of sustainability I examined in my thesis. However, a lot of interesting things are happening in other areas of sustainability, including a […]

Advice to an incoming master’s student.

Before I began my master’s program, my advisor, Dr. Hillary Sackett-Taylor, gave me some advice on how to get through graduate school. With summer coming to a close, I want to offer some advice to incoming master’s students that builds on some of the advice she passed down to me. It is tailored towards thesis […]