Monterey County

Carmel Valley craft brewery conserves water during drought

Local Breweries Get Crafty to conserve water

CARMEL VALLEY, Calif. - It takes a lot of water, but beer lovers say in the end it's worth it.  We're talking about craft beer, brewed right here on the Central Coast.  During this record drought, we're finding out some brewers are doing their part to conserve water.

NewsChannel 5 spoke with two breweries on the Monterey Peninsula, that said they aren't worried about the drought at this point.  For now, the supply is there and it's worth very drop because it takes a lot of water to make beer.

Carmel Valley brewing co-owner Dean Hatfield gave me a tour of his small, hillside craft brewery.  Seven years ago he started his business with his own underground water well seven.  It was a decision he said has allowed his business to thrive.

"Our well is 450 feet deep and so it's collecting water that was rain many, many years prior," Hatfield said.

But Hatfield knows some other breweries across the state aren't as lucky.  Some are sharing a dwindling supply as the drought drags on.  It's not something the industry can do without.

"Beer is 95 percent water and it takes additional water to clean things," Hatfield said.

To make beer, everything has to be very clean and sterile.  Everything including the fermenters, need to be cleaned out. Once it's all ready to go, the cap goes on and then it goes out to local businesses for beer lovers to enjoy.  Hatfield says his business is considered a nanobrewery.  He makes thousands of gallons a year, compared to larger breweries reaching millions of gallons a year.

"Hot water and a little bit of hops and walla," Hatfield said.

Hatfield doesn't let any of his water go to waste.

"We reuse every drop of it to irrigate an orchard that we already had," Hatfield said.

It takes 28 days to brew one batch and just about every step, involves water.

"The waste products also carry away some water.  So there is a 20 percent or so overhead in water consumption compared to the product delivered for us in a small brewery," Hatfield said.

Alvarado Street Brewery said everyone is trying to conserve, but for now they're not suffering.

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