Originally Published: July 1, 2012 9:57 p.m.
The City of Prescott wisely uses monthly inserts into all water bills as an effective way to disseminate information to the public on a variety of issues, many related to water usage, conservation, native landscaping, etc.
That said, we take issue with the figures presented on the latest insert regarding typical water usage for production of certain consumer items, particularly the figure stating that it takes about "1,500 gallons of water to process 1 barrel of beer" (1 barrel = 31 gallons). The figures on the insert were directly attributed to the website www.brainyquote.com and presented as facts. However, we could not locate them anywhere on the website.
Additionally, the figure is not specific as to exactly what constitutes "process." Some studies take into account the entire water footprint of the industry, including the water used to grow the grain for beer production. In this case, we are to assume that the figure is referring to the water used to make beer, i.e. facility-related usage.
As brewers, we know for an absolute fact that the usage quoted from the City's Water Smart program insert is misleading at best, and grossly overstated as truth. We have a multitude of legitimate sources & studies that provide estimates of much less than "1,500 gallons per barrel." There is a wide range in water usage among breweries, with the industry average between 124-248 gallons per barrel. Some breweries use more, some less. Many have invested millions of dollars in all types of sustainable practices to further lessen their water usage. Readers can conduct their own research, or you can follow-up with us - your local, hometown breweries.
While we agree with the city's conservation intent, we feel we must stand up for our businesses & our industry. The brewing industry is an excellent stakeholder in water usage issues, and craft brewers, in general, have been leaders in water conservation. We hope the public works department will clarify and retract the misleading information and, in the future, cite figures from more reputable sources.
Roxane and John Nielsen,
Prescott Brewing Co.
and Michael Stanger, Amanda Richardson, Audra Yamamoto and Damon Swafford,
Granite Mountain Brewing