CO2 is a pretty hot topic these days and in more ways than one!
Of course we all know about the gas and its detrimental effect on the environment through global warming, but if you’ve been following the roller coaster ride of the NZ craft beer scene of late - you will also be aware that the cost of CO2 has recently gone through the roof.
This is bad news for brewers who use bottled CO2 in many ways; for pneumatic processing (forcing liquids from A to B), to force carbonate beers and also as a preservative (or rather as a means of expunging oxygen).
In an age of high CO2 emissions, where we are liberally pumping the stuff into our atmosphere, the irony will not be lost on you I am sure - especially if you realise that most bottled CO2 is actually generated from the processing of petrochemicals to create ammonia and hydrogen.
Don’t know about you, but linking beer to petrochemicals is far from ideal for brand image, and the thought of it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
It’s ironic, too, that our brewers, who need this gas so badly, are actually generating it naturally as a by-product of fermentation. The problem is, that unless you are working at low temps (as with most lagers) the CO2 is easily lost and therefore needs to be artificially re-introduced
Luckily there are crafty brewers who have found a way round this.
Eddyline is a good case in point. This Nelson based brewery has moved with the times and is leading the charge towards more sustainable brewing. They were the first NZ brewery to install an Earthly Labs carbon capture machine and now carbonate 100% of their beers with the CO2 produced from their brewing. This will be simultaneously saving them money and removing the slightly unsavoury link to the petrochemical industry.
So there we go. It’s a great example of how doing one’s bit for the environment can help the world, provide a financial boost and improve a brand image - all in one hit.
If that’s not a win win - then I don’t know what is!