Sustainability as Environmental Concern Embedded in Contemporary Beer Culture: Putting the Pressure on Anheuser Busch

By Patrycja Dziewa

            Due to my involvement in the American craft beer industry, working on a paper related to beer is interesting and a great way to say focused and interested on my topic. Getting into the industry, domestic premium beer, such as Bud Light and Budweiser are deemed “not real beer” and therefore big breweries such as Anheuser Busch are seen as The Grinch of the craft beer industry. This bias is what sparked research into how the Anheuser Busch Brewery in Newark remains relevant and in business now that most breweries focus on sustainability. Turns out the brewery in Newark utilizes solar panels as well as recycles and donates their spent hops. These practices are now more common in the industry. In my paper I’ll be tracking past brewing practices, in the 1950’s when Anheuser Busch moved to Newark, during the 70’s and 80’s when beer counter culture sparked a craft beer revolution, and how breweries, local, such as Flying Fish or River Horse, work in unison with large, national breweries such as Anheuser Busch to positively impact the environment.

            A couple of questions I’d like to explore are: What brewing practices in the middle to late half of the 20th century look like and how did people view the future then? How has sustainability become embedded into beer culture and industry? What was it about Newark that brought Anheuser Busch over? Breaking my paper up into three parts entails a section about brewing practices in the middle to late 20th century and the environmental injustices involved, another section about how at the same time there was a rumbling counter culture among homebrewers who financed their own breweries, and a final section about current sustainable practices in smaller local breweries and how that kind of branding has pressured a large brewery such as Anheuser Busch to also turn to sustainability to remain on the market.