The world of beer is moving down the path of sustainability. And some surprisingly refreshing news comes from the Belpaese, proving once again that Italians’ attention to sustainability and the environment is growing every day.

The beer house rules.

Sasso Pirano, a district of the Tuscan town of Castelnuovo Val di Cecina, is home to the world’s first beer produced by a brewery powered entirely by geothermal energy. The water heating and mashing systems run on geothermal steam from the nearby Enel Green power station. Via a heat exchanger, all the energy is obtained for the various stages in the production process, including plant washing and cleaning. (source: La Nazione)

The 28 hectares of organic barley and hops grown in Ostiglia and planted by former top manager Enzo Agazzani will produce Agazzani beer (the final certificates and approvals are pending). «I’ve had many of the beers on the market analysed, including so-called craft beers,” says Agazzani. “All of them contained traces of herbicides, pesticides and toxic substances. Whereas beer is a sort of “liquid bread”, with extraordinary properties. And to conserve them my beer will be a completely zero-mile product.» The healthiness of the ale is certified by the CERB, Centro Eccellenza Ricerca Birra. (source: Gazzetta di Mantova)

Meanwhile, in food-loving Bologna, in the shade of the porticos in the city centre, you can sample Cerqua, a beer produced at the eponymous brewery pub. A production capacity of 1500 litres a month, 4 different varieties, and, above all, the first Italian takeaway beer. Served only on tap, to reduce costs and the pollution of packaging and transportation, the beer can be bottled in bottles provided by consumers. It is produced in loco and stored in fully recyclable containers. It is also associated with an interesting circular economy experiment: the used malt from the brewing will be employed to produce a focaccia leavened with mother yeast and served in the pub. Even the furnishings in the pub comply with the golden rule of the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.(source: Corriere di Bologna)

Other people’s beers

In Portland, USA, the Migration Brewing Company has cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} by using zero-mile products, thereby reducing transportation costs and pollution. It has installed a low-consumption high-efficiency water-heating system. To determine precisely the level of carbon emissions generated by traditional ale production, consultant Molly Hatfield from the Hatfield Sustainability Research Centre conducted a lifecycle assessment.

Hatfield calculated the carbon emissions generated during the “life” of the company’s beer: she included the growth (cultivation) of the ingredients, transportation to the brewery, production of the beer, packaging and distribution to consumers.

The study found that the production of a barrel of Migration’s Blood, Sweat and Red creates approximately 56 kg of carbon dioxide, equivalent to a mid-size car travelling for more than 200 km. Where carbon emissions are concerned, a pint is equivalent to driving just over 1.5 km in a small car.

Eighty per cent of carbon emissions from beer comes from the production process, mainly from the use of energy. Around 15 per cent comes from activities to cultivate and transport the raw materials.

So Migration’s new production system, which cuts emissions by 50{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622}, is a welcome development. (source: Ambiente Bio)

Heineken, a world giant in the beer industry, which in Italy alone produces more than 5 million hectolitres in its 4 factories, and has more than 2,000 employees, has presented its sustainability report: water consumption cut by 15{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622}, energy from photovoltaic panels (more than 8,136, for a surface area equivalent to 4 football pitches) at 2 of its 4 factories. Heineken also gives preference to rail transportation: in 2012, 30{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} of its pale ales were transported by rail. (source: Lifegate)

Carlsberg’s 2016 sustainability report, ResponsiBEERty 2016, sets 4 goals for 2030: eliminating water waste, emissions and energy waste, workplace accidents and non-responsible alcohol consumption. And beginning this year Carlsberg intends to use 100{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} renewable energy sources. Meanwhile, Carlsberg Italia cut water consumption by 18{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} in 2016. With the reintroduction of pet, which is lighter and more sustainable than steel, Carlsberg has prevented 11 million kg of carbon emissions. (Source: Lifegate)