Craft beer has undoubtedly exploded in popularity across the nation over recent years. According to Business Insider, with 5,562 breweries in the U.S as of June 2017, a 16.3% increase in just one year. California in particular has over 850 breweries being located in California, more than any other state in the U.S. Unfortunately, the beer making process can be quite wasteful, using a staggering amount of water and producing large quantities of organic waste in the form of spent grains. These factors can be both economically draining for breweries and environmentally damaging especially in California, a drought prone state that has just experienced its driest period on record and that has recently passed several environmental mandates to greatly reduce the amount of waste going to landfills, leading to a dramatic increase in waste hauling costs across the state.
Many breweries have found ways to deal with their solid waste in a more eco-friendly manner by sending their spent grains to farmers for use as livestock feed or compost. However, depending on the location of the brewery, it can be quite costly and difficult to store and haul this material due to its high moisture content. On-site waste reduction is one of the best ways to cut down the hauling expenses and storage problems. In fact, The Brewers Association Solid Waste Reduction Manual recommends on-site waste treatment as a great way to reduce waste hauling costs. Dehydration is especially promising for breweries as it reduces the volume of waste by 80-90% which can turn soggy spent grains into a dried, odorless, lightweight material. The process preserves most of the inputted material’s nutrient content by using lower temperatures, so it can still make great animal feed and compost but at a much lower hauling cost to the business owner. Dehydrators also extract and collect moisture from the material inputted, dispensing precious distilled water from condensate which can be recycled for various uses.
Using this waste reduction method could also open up a great marketing opportunity. The Brewers Association shows the majority of craft beer consumers stemming from younger generations, primarily Millennials, who are known for prioritizing eco-friendliness and sustainability.
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