Like every industrial process, beer brewing has its own carbon footprint. And just like any other industrial process out there, brewing beer can be made greener by eliminating malt, made from barley, whose making is very energy-intense.
Dustin Brau, CEO of Brau Brothers Brewery in Lucan, Minnesota, found out how to eliminate malt from the beer and still keep the flavor. The secret lies in an enzyme additive called Ondea Pro, which is normally contained by malt. The enzyme is processed by the east bacteria, which have a critical role in the fermentation process. Ondea Pro allows making the beer with unmalted grains.
“Even for a very efficient malting process, brewing with unmalted barley reduced the overall carbon footprint of beer production by eight percent,” says Adam Monroe, President of Novozymes North America, the company that makes Ondea Pro. “We also documented a seven percent reduction in the amount of barley required to produce the same amount of beer, thereby improving land utilization and earnings.”
Monroe’s company says that if only 10 percent of global beer production would be converted to unmalted barley, then the entire beer industry would be able to reduce its CO2 footprint by 350,000 tons, which would equal to taking 85,000 cars off the road.
On the other hand, skipping a middleman in this business could mean significant cost reductions. As Brau says, the price of malt represents about 75 percent of the total cost of beer making.
So the beers you’ll drink in a few years will probably get “greener” and cheaper, too.