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Drink Wine or Beer for Least Environmental Impact?

Last month I came across this article on treehugger raising the question of whether drinking wine or beer was less harmful environmentally.  When I read the full piece I was a little disappointed as I had imagined it would cover aspects regarding the production – growing conditions, fertiliser use, energy used in wine making versus malting/brewing.  I started to think that vines could be grown locally with few inputs or mechanisation and the wine-making could be achieved with limited energy use whereas growing barley was going to rely on mechanisation, transport, energy for malting/drying and then all the energy to mash and boil.  However, the article covered none of this, the only factors considered were around transportation – of raw ingredients to the production facility and the final transportation to the consumer.  Therefore I thought I’d look a bit further into the subject.

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Studying Beer

Forst Pilsener Beer

We just got back from a hard trip studying beer!  The travelling was a bit hard, visiting Alto Adige, Como in Lombardia and then near Alessandria in Piemonte in 3 days.  We visited Forst, Birrificio Italiano and Birrificio Montegioco.  Our lunch with Birrificio Montegioco was hard also, tasting for whether a beer or a wine went better with each dish – 3 dishes, 3 beers and 3 wines equalled a headache for me afterwards.  Photos are here. I found it difficult to find photos to take in a lot of the situations – difficult light and not very photographic subjects, so there are a few non-beer pictures.