Water is one of beer’s most essential ingredients, affecting its taste, aroma, and overall quality. To be responsible stewards and protect this resource, we must focus on protecting life-sustaining clean water, not just for beer, but for everyone. Here are five facts about our beer and clean water:
1. Beer is more than 90% water
While malt and hops add flavor, the fundamental base of a beer is water. Between 92 and 95% of beer is water and is used throughout the brewing process. We must be responsible stewards of our natural resources. In 2018, we updated some brewing processes to conserve more than 15 million gallons of water.
2. Kalamazoo water makes our beer special
Did you know that the water we use to make brands like Two Hearted and Oberon comes from the ground beneath the Kalamazoo area? Groundwater sources are rich in minerals. Those found in Kalamazoo groundwater help support yeast health and give our brands their classic flavor.
3. We clean our brewing wastewater
Our on-site facility, nicknamed the “The Cube,” pretreats the wastewater we used in brewing and packaging before sending it back to the city. The Cube removes suspended solids from malt and hops and converting its biological oxygen demand (BOD) into renewable electricity and heat that is used to offset brewing operations. It treats between 180,000 to 200,000 gallons of water and removes 6,133 lbs. of BOD daily. Not only does the Cube save us money, but it also reduces energy consumption, and itself generates 2100 kWh of energy per day that’s used to power the water treatment system and the brewery.
4. Fighting to protect clean water
We are founding members of the Great Lakes Business Network. This organization that advocates to protect our clean water from pollutant threats. We are also signatories to the NRDC’s Brewers for Clean Water, which supports policies that protect the Clean Water Act. Locally, we have been a member of the Kalamazoo Wellhead Protection Committee since 2015, which serves to protect our local groundwater sources.
5. Supporting the work
Last year, we launched our Inspired Giving grant cycle to support organizations that raise awareness, promote advocacy, and positively affect access to clean water. These awarded grants equaled nearly $110k. To continue this work, we launched Lager for the Lakes to bring awareness, engagement, and action behind the need to protect and preserve the availability of clean water.