Drinking Beer And Building A Better Planet

The One They Call Zoe

 Talking about climate change can be stressful, scary, and depressing… but what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if, it could involve beer?

That’s right, beer. One of Austin’s most beloved breweries, Hops & Grain, has just taken a big step in acting on climate change. Last month, they announced the official launch of CiCi, a carbon-capture technology, at their brewery.

Here’s how it works. Brewing beer releases a lot of carbon dioxide (which is a greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere. At the same time, breweries actually purchase a lot of commercial grade carbon dioxide in order to carbonate their beer and to move it from tank to tank.

The CiCi technology (which was created by a local public benefit corporation, Earthly Labs) captures the carbon dioxide that breweries release and allows them to reuse it in order to carbonate their beer. That means the brewery is saving the planet and saving money all at the same time.

Hops & Grain expects that CiCi will reduce their carbon dioxide costs by over 50 percent and avoid over 500,000 pounds of emissions over 10 years. That’s the equivalent of planting up to 800 trees a year!

CiCi
Hops & Grain new carbon capture device.

The big picture
With scientists telling us that we have 12 years to dramatically reduce emissions, Earthly Labs Founder and CEO, Amy George, says that with her company, her goal is, “… to capture one billion metric tons of CO2 as fast as possible. We believe that many of us working together in small ecosystems to do what we can – right now – is the success formula to fighting climate change. It is not someone else’s problem to solve. It is ours.”

Before CiCi, carbon capture technology for breweries existed, but was really only available to the big guys. Hops & Grain is the first Austin brewery to fully deploy CiCi, but the hope is that many others will follow. As Earthly Labs says on its website, “We believe that 1000 little guys capturing carbon can move faster than one lumbering big guy.”

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