A small micro brewery in California called the Fallbrook Brewing Co had just doubled their brewing capacity to meet increasing sales when they were hit with water restrictions. And if they exceed their limits while trying to survive the small brewing company could be hit with thousands of dollars in fines during the states ongoing record drought.
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There are more than 570 craft micro breweries in California alone using traditional beer making ingredients with another 250 expected to open in the not too distant future. And the state is doing very well from the growth of craft beer sales having generated over 6.5 billion dollars to the economy over the last year producing a massive 3.5 million barrels of beer. But despite the water shortage they are the only state to introduce water restrictions across the drought stricken West.
Water is in high demand for craft breweries because it takes up to 7 litres of water to produce 1 litre of beer – which as a direct result of the drought is now forcing micro breweries to evolve by lowering their average water per litre of beer down to a lower 5 to 1 ratio. But despite this breweries are still under pressure to save more as the state aims to reduce water usage by 25%.
“Micro breweries have had little choice but to respond to the circumstances and are now digging water wells and tanks with many being forced to shelve expansion plans,” said Chuck from the Brewing Co. ”If rain doesn’t increase over winter there’s a fear that lots of micro breweries will be forced to close or leave the state.”
The states largest brewery Sierra Nevada has been told to drop its water use by 32 percent. ”We’ve already dropped water use by 25% and any further cuts would hurt sales.”
The Bear Republic Brewing Co has to date closed operations in 15 different markets after the Northern Californian town of Cloverdale said they didn’t have enough water to support their production. So instead of relocating the brewery they decided to invest a cool 4 million in facilities which as a result have reduced their water use by 25 percent.
“We have to protect our breweries future,” said Richard the brewery owner, “So if we cant produce the volume of beer we need then we have to look at other locations.”
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