STORY LINK / USA (January, 2020) — Water is both beer’s primary ingredient (on average, 90-95% of what’s in your glass) and its largest waste byproduct. And in the future, it may also become the beer industry’s greatest liability.
According to the most recent Brewers Association data, approximately 194.3 million barrels of beer were sold in the United States in 2018. Consider that, even if every brewery operated at an industry-leading water-to-beer ratio of 3:1—with one BBL equal to 31 gallons—the beer industry would be responsible for using over 18 billion gallons of water annually to produce just the beer it sold to consumers.
Consider, too, that approximately 2,900 breweries—nearly 40% of all craft breweries—operated in states experiencing at least a moderate drought during a third of the last decade. Arizona and Nevada were in at least a moderate drought for more than half of the last decade. California, Utah, Idaho, and New Mexico were in a drought for approximately 40-50% of the last decade. And Texas, Oregon, Georgia, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska experienced at least a moderate drought for 30-40% of the past 10 years.