Professor talks climate change and brewing industry at Lake Michigan College

Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 6:26 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. (WNDU) - Do the brewing industry and climate change have something in common?

The Lake Michigan College Spring Science Seminar on Tuesday sought to answer that question.

Western Michigan University Professor Steve Bertman presented the seminar. Formally trained as a physical-organic chemist at Yale, Bertman has spent the last 25 years also studying atmospheric reactions involving organic compounds and biosphere-atmosphere interactions in the forests of Northern Michigan.

Bertman also founded WMU’s Sustainable Brewing Program in 2015.

“What I was trying to do in part is bring this message that, you will be affected [by climate change],” said Bertman following the seminar.

He confirmed the reality of climate change through time-lapsed data collected by NASA scientists over the decades and also discussed how warming temperatures can affect the quality and yields of key beer ingredients such as hops and barley.

But, Bertman said the brewing industry is also reflecting on its environmental impact through the use of glass bottles. He cited a study by New Belgium Brewing, the maker of Fat Tire, that discovered how the company was indirectly contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.

“Now they have to look at their supply chains and see if they can influence their supply chains. That particular greenhouse gas inventory showed more than one-third of their emissions came from glass for packaging their product,” Bertman commented.

Regardless if a person consumes beer, he said people should be aware of climate change.

“What I want people to realize is that it’s going to affect them personally...” Bertman added.