CO2 Emissions from Asheville’s Craft Brewing Industry

  •  Evan Couzo    
  •  Metis Meloche    
  •  Jacob Taylor    


This study examined the relationship between two foundational identities of Asheville, North Carolina — its environmentally mindful community and the craft brewing industry. We quantified CO2 emissions from the fermentation process of brewing beer at several local breweries in Asheville. Additionally, this project determined whether emissions from fermentation were substantial compared to CO2 emissions from the breweries’ electricity usage. We analyzed data from four breweries of varying size. Our results showed that the emissions from fermentation were small compared to emissions from electricity usage. Total CO2 emissions from electricity usage from all four breweries were slightly less than 180,000 tonnes compared to just over 600 tonnes from the fermentation process. Emissions from fermentation were less than 0.5% of emissions from electricity usage at all four breweries. While 600 tonnes of CO2 may not seem substantial, this study was limited to just four of the more than 35 breweries in Asheville as of 2016. Given the size and rate of growth of the craft brewing industry in the region, it is too soon to dismiss fermentation emissions as unimportant to Asheville’s total carbon footprint.

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