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MBAA TQ https://doi.org/10.1094/TQ-56-4-0731-01  |  VIEW ARTICLE
An Overview of Sustainability Challenges in Beer Production, and the Carbon Footprint of Hops Production

Dean G. Hauser and Thomas H. Shellhammer. Department of Food Science and Technology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, U.S.A.

As public awareness of anthropogenic climate change grows and consumers demand more sustainably produced products, it is imperative that the beer industry implements more sustainable production processes. Fortunately, there is a growing body of work related to the sustainability implications of beer production, which can help to advise brewers in decision making toward better environmental stewardship. From the life-cycle perspective, inputs both upstream and downstream of the brewhouse, such as packaging production and retail refrigeration, can often have significant bearing on the environmental impact of a given brand. From the perspective of environmental sustainability, malted barley often garners the most attention among beer ingredients, because its production process is highly energy intensive; it is typically the largest ingredient (aside from water) in beer recipes, and it has the potential to be valorized as a coproduct. Hops gain less attention and are often overlooked, because the bulk of the literature focuses on lager-style beer, for which hops are used only in sparing quantities. However, the recent surge in popularity of hoppy beer styles has driven brewers to use ever-increasing quantities of hops in the quest for intense and unique hop aroma, with the consequence that the sustainability implications of hops production can no longer be neglected.

Keywords: sustainability, dry hopping, hops production, carbon footprint