This sort of future will be great, right?
When most people think GMO crops, they think of Monsanto, corn and genetic tinkering with industrial-scale agriculture. But what if an entire, familiar industry — like beer — could undergo a revolution by rewriting an entire organism — like yeast — from scratch? That's what a team of geneticists at Johns Hopkins University is doing and if they're successful, the ramifications could be felt far beyond your next ill-advised 3 a.m. pint. As Popular Mechanics reports, the Yeast 2.0 project has designed and written an 11-million-letter DNA code which is being snipped out and snapped into cultures of regular yeast.
Wonderful. Apparently big craft is racing towards a new world of synthetic yeasts. As US craft races to abandon principle for newly invented tradition and even defends odd if fun revenue streams, why not embrace genetic modification? Sierra Nevada Brewing Company researcher Chris Baugh even is quoted as giggling over the idea that the opportunity "opens the doors to the mass production of beer with totally untasted characteristics."
I am pretty sure that I don't care that much about the mass production of beer based on synthetics than I care all that much about craft brewers' interest in keeping their revenue stream from supplying feed to the commodity beef trade supply unregulated. At some point, there needs to be some measure of craft left in craft beer, some connection to the growing fields of grain and the herbs of the hedge and ditch. Otherwise, this is all just 2D gone mad.
Should you care?