Friday, March 23, 2012

Go Green: Beer Growlers

As anyone who reads my other blog, A Terrific Life, knows that I love beer.  Specifically, good, local craft beer.  The beer brewing process uses an unfortunately large amount of resources, specifically water, grains, and electricity.  The beer must then be stored while it ferments, and then packaged and shipped to the consumer.  Then the cans or bottles are often discarded or thrown in the trash, rather than recycled.

Growlers present a great alternative that will hopefully limit the environmental impact of the packaging and distributing activities involved in beer.  Growlers are large jugs, often 32 or 64 ounces, that can be filled directly from the tanks or kegs and sold directly to customers.  This cuts out the distributor, since consumers can buy the beer directly from the brewery.  Also, there will not be electricity wasted on packaging, storing, and shipping the cans or bottles that are traditionally used in the beer market.  In addition, the nature of a growler means that you will be getting fresher beer, often from a local brewery.  This is important, because beer tastes better the fresher it is, and there is not as much energy wasted in storage between the time produced and ultimately consumed.  Finally, supporting local businesses is something we always encourage.

Another point that I like about growlers is the higher bottle deposit. This is something that I have advocated in the past and stand by firmly.  Many people who do not recycle, would, if it was in their own selfish best interest to do so.  This can be accomplished by raising recycling deposit limits.  People will have to shell out extra money for the container when purchasing, and then be refunded upon return.  Growlers are large containers, and I am sure expensive to buy, so they charge $1.50-$5 bottle deposits.  Of course, once you pay it once, you can re-use the growler or bring it back and exchange it at the brewery for a new one. 

Selling growlers makes good business and environmental sense, as the middle-man distributors are cut out, and there is less waste as a result of packaging beer into 6-36 packs of bottles and cans, and the recquisite packaging for individual retail and wholesale cases.  Of course growlers can not serve every single consumers needs, but using them more, as well as increasing bottle deposits on smaller vessels will help to lower the environmental impact of one of my favorite beverages.

Drink Craft Beer!

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