Concentrated Beer? Cutting Liquid before Shipping Also Cuts Its Carbon Footprint
A Colorado-based company called Sustainable Beverage Technologies (SBT) has developed BrewVo, a machine that produces a version of beer containing far less water than usual. The system uses what SBT calls a “nested fermentation” process to make this concentrate. First, it brews a standard beer. The machine then removes the alcohol and finally adds a new batch of wort (the sugary liquid extracted from grain mash) so additional fermentation can take place. This process is repeated several times, yielding a viscous concentrate that the company says is much more aromatic than a fully hydrated beverage. This concentrate and the removed alcohol can then be stored in separate bags and placed into recyclable boxes for shipping. After transportation, the alcohol is mixed back into the concentrate (or left out in the case of nonalcoholic beer), and the beer is rehydrated and carbonated before bottling or serving.
SBT says its bags can travel at one sixth the weight and volume of filled bottles, cans or kegs, eliminating much of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with packaging, shipping and refrigeration. The boxed concentrates also fit into a shipping container more efficiently because they have better pallet density than traditional cylindrical containers (which unavoidably have empty space between them). According to SBT’s founder and chief technology officer Pat Tatera, concentrates thus travel eight times more efficiently than kegs. SBT also claims its beer concentrates can be frozen to extend their shelf life, reducing waste.