I have had a bit of a odd bug for the last while. Not something that I would get into in great detail but for some reason this story about one aspect of the brewing in Vancouver caught my eye:
The region wants bylaw changes that could force brewers to pay to deal with organic matter produced through fermentation, saying many of the new businesses are pumping out more than just great suds. "Part of making beer is the waste products are very organic and have quite a high strength from a sewage perspective," Fred Nenninger, a manager in Metro Vancouver's wastewater division, said. According to Nenninger, the organic waste produced by beer brewing is tough to treat and contributes to odour and corrosion in sewer systems.
As you will recall, the student union of UBC installed a brewpub and identified a strategy around wastewater in its study 'An Investigation into the Implementation of a Brewpub at the New Student Union Building" which recommended installation of an on-site separator. It was described as "decanters and separators operating continuously that are efficient in clarification and separation" and also "energy efficient" as well as "efficient for removing the residues, solid wastes, and the cleaning agents of storage tanks." Sounds touchy-feely-green but the issues are real. At a 2013 conference, Deschutes Brewery of Oregon explained how they actually have two streams of waterwater that they handle separately - with even the lighter stream still being held in a tank to be released more slowly overnight into the waste water system. The same conference seminar saw a presentation from a municipal official that illustrates how hard brewing is on a wastewater system and also mentions a surcharge that was levied on breweries which chose to do no on site separation, leaving the municipal system to deal with the discharge. Conversely, one California municipality in 2013 promoted itself as a craft brewery destination due to its capacity to accept high strength waste due to sizing for a macro industrial brewery located there.
But it can also get snappy out there. In 2012, another brewery in Blanco City, Texas faced the opposite reality. Much unhappiness was expressed at the meeting of Council when a local ordinance was put in place to require pre-treatment rather than build a new facility at the expense of all taxpayers. Which makes sense. Why shouldn't the full costs of brewing be placed on the bottle or glass of beer?