Rerun: Raising the Bar: Brewing a Greener Future with Concentrated Beer, with Gary Tickle

A pile of beer bottle caps.

Image caption: Concentrated beer formulas that minimize water content and transportation emissions are reducing the carbon footprint of the beer industry. Image Credit: Daniel Spiess / Openverse.

Script, Audio, and Blurb by: Keya Pardasani

What are the problems with current beer production methods?

Beer is primarily composed of water—making up about 90 percent of its content. Annually, over 100 billion gallons of beer are produced and shipped, meaning nearly 90 billion gallons of water are being transported in the form of beer. This is significant because approximately 20 percent of a beer’s carbon footprint is attributed to transportation. In response, Sustainable Beverage Technologies (SBT) has proposed a new type of beer that can reduce transportation costs, material use, and overall emissions. 

A Sustainable Solution

SBT’s approach allows beer to travel through the supply chain as a concentrated liquid, reducing its water content to one-sixth that of conventional beer. In practical terms, one 13-pound bag of concentrated beer can yield the equivalent of 48 pints of fully hydrated beer. The condensed form of the beer significantly decreases the weight and physical size of the beer as it moves through the supply chain, which in turn reduces between 450 and 500 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions for every 48 pints produced.  

Additionally, the only packaging that is not recyclable is the bag of beer itself. All of the boxes used in transportation are recyclable, which significantly reduces the waste from beer production and transportation. Current partnerships allow SBT to ship this concentrated beer formula to various vendors, who then rehydrate the beer before selling it to consumers. SBT is actively working to expand these partnerships to further reduce emissions in the beer industry. 

Effect on Consumers

This new beer will have minimal effect on the end consumer and will mainly influence partners and suppliers. SBT’s beer requires rehydration at its final destination; SBT is developing specialized technology to facilitate this. This beer allows consumers to keep enjoying their drinks while knowing they are contributing to a sustainable solution.  

Who is Gary Tickle?

Gary Tickle serves as the CEO of Sustainable Beverage Technologies.  Alongside his partner, the original founder, he leads a team of innovators focused on crafting sustainable solutions for the beer industry while maintaining the beer flavor and feel. 

Further Reading

Sustainable Beverage Technologies, BrewVo

Cutting Liquid Before Shipping Also Cuts its Carbon Footprint, Scientific American

Drinking Beer Sustainability, Earth 911

Marketing Sustainable Beer, Purdue

The Carbon Footprint of Beer, Sestra Systems 


Transcript

Ethan:  I’m Ethan Elkind, and you’re listening to Climate Break: climate solutions in a hurry. Today’s proposal: condensing beer to save emissions from having to ship excess liquid. We spoke to Gary Tickle, CEO of Sustainable Beverage Technologies, to learn more.

Gary Tickle: Ultimately, when you get the finished beer, it’s still in the region of ninety percent water that has to move through the supply chain to the consumer. Well, there’s over a hundred billion gallons of beer produced annually. And with around ninety percent of it being water, that’s a lot of water being moved around. And if we estimate that fifteen to twenty percent of the beer is being moved in keg format, that means there’s around fifteen billion gallons of water being shipped out. So, from a carbon footprint standpoint, that’s a lot of trucks on the road, a lot of fuel use and associated maintenance, labor, congestion, and associated cost of transport.

Ethan: Instead, Tickle has developed a process to remove water from the beer and then ship it in a lightweight concentrated form. Sellers then add the water back in at the point of sale.

Gary Tickle: What we’re doing is we’re making the water available at the time you reconstitute the product on tap. So, you’re not using a large carbon footprint to move water around.

And we’re in the process of developing the next generation NextDraft solution, which will help us bring the ecosystem to life across multiple retail channels. So, we’re in the process now of scaling this technology.

Ethan: To learn more about solutions to reduce waste in this industry, visit climatebreak.org.

Rerun: Raising the Bar: Brewing a Greener Future with Concentrated Beer, with Gary Tickle