A Penny Saved is a Pint Earned.

Posted: August 3, 2012 by geosylvan in Week 2: Reflections + Social Sustainability
Tags: , , , ,

Although these past two weeks of abstaining from commercial beer have been difficult, I feel as though I am making important life-altering impacts through my personal sustainability promise. I’ve been knocking back a few pints of Double Red Ale homebrew that I have on tap. It’s a little heavy for this warmer weather, but it’s getting me by just fine. I have noticed significant positive changes to both my health and my wallet since I stopped buying commercial beer two weeks ago.

I sat down the other day to figure out exactly how much money I was saving by brewing all my own beer. A conservative estimate of my beer drinking habits works out to about two beers a day. My proclivity for only the finest brews has me spending about $1.75 a bottle. Over a four-week period I would consume 56 twelve oz beers, and end up spending around $98 on that beer. I thought to myself, “oh damn, I’m spending a hundred bucks a month on beer!”

So, inevitably, I worked on crunching the numbers for a standard batch of homebrew. I brew five-gallon batches at a time, and those five gallons work out to be about fifty bottles of beer. The ingredients for beer, at most, run me about forty bucks, and factoring in fuel, electricity, and water, I would estimate a batch runs me about forty-five bucks. A couple hours of work and forty-five dollars nets me about a month’s supply of beer. That’s half the cost of the same about of commercial beer. Over the course of a year I could save over $600 by brewing at home! Granted, you’ve got to factor in start-up costs, and some bad batches, but the money saved is a clear reason to start brewing for yourself.

Home brewing isn’t anything new. Humans have been making beer and wine and other spirits in their houses ever since they’ve had houses. Anthropologists estimate that in 10,000 BCE, the first alcoholic beverage mead was discovered. They have also found evidence that wine and beer were crafted around 7,000 BCE. It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution where breweries replaced brewing in the home. The breweries could produce beer on a larger scale, allowing better efficiency. There is a fantastic little history of Home brewing on Wikipedia. Through home brewing, an individual can produce their own craft beer, reducing the need to depend on large brewing conglomerates to make beer for them. A beer writer by the name of Pete Brown has a blog that does a wonderful job of putting large-scale beer production in perspective. It might be a bit much to say that by home brewing one can smash a whole corporate system, but why not give it a try?

  1. firstaltcoop says:

    Super great way to save money! Homebrewing is a great way to introduce yourself to the actual ingredients that a brew is composed of and allows you full control of your food choices. Way to empower yourself, GeoSylvan!

  2. julie says:

    Share some pictures, Sylvan! PS. How do you think home brewing vs. buying bottles or cans of beer could affect communities around the world?

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