Breweries are increasingly experimenting with different flavours of beers, and despite some adding in fruits, jellyfish and even bits of beard, we all know that the four key ingredients are barley, hops, yeast and of course, water.
Without water, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy a freshly pulled pint down our local. Yes hops add those enticing aromas to our beer, the yeast ferments it and the malted barley provides the natural sugars needed for that fermentation, but water, making up 90% of the finished product, is essential.
Not only is it a fundamental ingredient in beer; it is essential for cleaning the vats, barrels and equipment but it is also crucial for the actual growing of the barley and hops.
It has been estimated that for every barrel of beer brewed, about five or six barrels of water are used in the brewing and cleaning processes. The BBC states that for each pint brewed, 130 further pints are needed to grow the barley and the hops.
In just 16 years, The United Nations projects that nearly half of the world’s population could face a scarcity of water, and as a result, a scarcity of beer, with demand for clean water outstripping supply by a whopping 40%.
Although you are probably beginning to contemplate building a fallout bunker and stock it full of beer just incase we suffer an ale-pocalypse, more and more breweries are doing their part to help tackle the many issues that surround water.
The big boys of US brewing; MillersCoors and Anheuser-Busch InBev have both pledged to decrease the amount of water used to brew each barrel of beer, but so to are the smaller craft breweries.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. are taking steps to decrease their water usage on their bottling line and nearly two dozen other breweries over the pond are spearheading a campaign to toughen enforcement of the Clean Water Act.
Brewers this side of the Atlantic are also playing their part and won’t be outshone by their American counterparts. One that is doing their bit is Pembrokeshire based brewery, Caffle.
This weekend Chris and Sharon Bannister, Caffle’s owners, are welcoming in World Water Day with a fundraising event with the proceeds being donated to help build a well.
“Since water is such an important part of making beer we thought that it would be good to raise money to help support the cause,” Chris said ahead of the event. “They are trying to encourage people to save water, so what better way than to drink beer!” he continued.
Between 6-11pm on 22 March, the couple will swing open their brewery’s doors and welcome in the public for a relaxed evening of music and beer tasting.
They have pledged to donate at least 10% of beer sales to the cause but the event will also be used to launch their new ale, a traditional IPA by the name of Skaddly Pluck.
“The initial test brew has gone down well,” said Chris. “It was put together by Sharon, our Brewster,” he continued, “She always wanted an IPA in the lineup so went ahead and made one.”
If you are worried about the plight of water, and as a result, beer, be sure to get yourself down to Caffle this weekend to do your bit; Save water, drink beer!
- Drink Beer, Conserve Water
- Breweries Raising Their Glass to Clean Water-National Geographic
- No Water, No Beer: Brewers Race To Save The Ales-NBC