“Q I’m hosting a dinner party next week, and I’ll be serving both beer and wine alongside the meal. Which has the lower carbon footprint?” The Washington Post‘s “Green Lantern” column delivers a remarkably detailed overview of the the environmental consequences of drinking. Asked to decide whether beer or wine leaves a smaller carbon footprint, Nina Shen Rastogi decides that all things considered (i.e., manufacture, distribution, packaging, storage, etc.), it’s more or less a toss-up – although locally brewed tap beer is probably your cleanest bet. But I liked this:
A recent carbon footprint analysis of Fat Tire amber ale highlights a few other areas that deserve attention. Producing and assembling the ingredients — malt, hops and water — created 678 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent, or about 21 percent of the total footprint for a bottled six-pack. A chunk of that, 244 grams, comes from the production of synthetic fertilizers for the barley and related soil emissions, so the authors suggest that switching to organic barley could make a considerable impact.