Brewing a more sustainable glass of beer, with help from enzyme solutions

It’s no longer enough to talk about sustainability; the time has come to put words into action. In the brewing industry, some of the largest companies in the business are putting a firm stake in the ground and committing to ambitious planet targets. How achievable are they?

Driving change in any industry requires a critical mass of good intention and meaningful action. As climate change comes to the forefront of the public agenda, it’s clear that market success and long-term viability for any business will depend on building more sustainable operations. That’s because today’s conscious consumers are mindful of the environmental impact of the products they purchase, and the power they have to create a greener future through their choices.

Brewing Industry sets bold targets as course for action

The brewing industry is taking note, and leading players are making clear commitments to embrace sustainability throughout their operations. Just recently, Diageo launched a 10-year sustainability action plan with ambitious targets that align to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Among their plan’s three focus areas is ‘pioneering grain-to-glass sustainability’, and the company is setting goals to achieve net zero carbon emissions from direct operations and to use 30% less water in every drink it produces by 20301Carlsberg have also set ambitious science-based targets to reach ZERO emissions from their breweries by 2030, read in detail about their sustainability roadmap here.

ABInBev has similarly aligned to the SDGs and committed to its own 2025 Sustainability Goals that include getting 100% of purchased electricity from renewable sources2.

HEINEKEN announced its 2030 Brew a Better World programme, a set of ambitious commitments aimed at driving a positive impact on the environment, social sustainability and the responsible consumption of alcohol, as part of their efforts towards net zero carbon by 2030. 


Innovative enzyme solutions put sustainability targets in reach

“The momentum within the brewing industry toward sustainable operations, and the commitment from many global breweries to take real action to get there, is both compelling and really exciting for all of us,” says Joana Carneiro, Business Director Beverages, DSM Food Specialties. 

“As a partner to breweries around the world, DSM is responding in kind with a broadening portfolio of brewing enzymes that will help brewers produce a more sustainable glass of beer that tastes great and begs another sip.”

As an example, DSM recently added Maxadjunct™ ß L, a high-performance adjunct brewing enzyme, to its enzyme portfolio. The choice of raw material can have a significant impact on overall efficiency, energy usage and cost. Thus, brewers invested in more sustainable production can increase the use of adjuncts, such as rice, maize and cassava, to help reduce the amount of malt in their recipes. The malting process for barley is quite energy- and water-intensive, so using less of it and increasing the ratio of adjuncts can have a big impact on reducing CO2 emissions.

Maxadjunct™ ß L gives brewers the flexibility to use a wide variety of raw materials (even up to 100% adjuncts) and deliver the same great-tasting beer. An added benefit is that adjuncts are often sourced locally, which further contributes to a circular economy in the region and a lower carbon footprint. 

Results that make a difference

Enzymes are naturally sustainable, simple to use and can be added to different stages of brewers’ existing production processes, depending on the application and intended effect. Right now our Brewer’s Clarex® has been in the market for more than 10 years and is a proven technology with an average of 1 per 4 bottles in beer production being brewed with it to support a variety of sustainability targets globally . It’s a unique liquid enzyme added to the fermentation stage that streamlines beer stabilization by eliminating the deep cooling and rinsing step. 

This reduced maturation time (by one day) can enable brewers to cut their carbon footprint by 5-6%, reduce water use by 1% and reach energy cost savings up to €70,000 per 1 million hectoliters of beer produced. In fact, if all the beer in Europe was made with Brewers Clarex®, the energy saved (327 KWH) would equal €30 million in cost savings and 52,000 fewer cars on the road for one year!

Brewers Clarex® and the rest of DSM’s portfolio of robust brewing enzymes is complemented by a highly skilled team of application experts, with years of experience helping breweries deliver sustainable, on-trend beverages to consumers.

It’s clear that sustainability is no longer a trend but a requirement – for doing business, for staying in business and for countering the impact of climate change. When businesses large and small get on board and make tangible commitments to ensure a greener future, as has happened in brewing, it creates opportunities for innovative solutions, like DSM’s portfolio of brewing enzymes, that will help enable this future. 

Our experts are always ready to help you

Published on

04 May 2022

Brew more beer with locally sourced raw materials

Brewers Compass® enables brewers to replace malt with locally available raw materials, such as barley or blends of wheat, maize, rice, sorghum and cassava. The barley malting process accounts for approximately 10 to15% of the eco-footprint of beer. Switching from malt to barley brewing allows a 10% reduction in barley consumption and cuts water and energy use. When brewing with 100% barley, using Brewers Compass®, the carbon footprint savings are typically over 60 kilograms of CO₂ per ton of barley used.

Energy savings in beer production

DSM’s unique solution for beer stabilization, Brewers Clarex®, reduces the maturation time of beer. Added during the fermentation stage of brewing, Brewers Clarex® allows brewers to skip the deep cooling and rinsing step in the beer stabilization and clarification process, helping to save energy and water. Simply switching to Brewers Clarex® can reduce the carbon footprint of brewing companies by 5 to 6%, reduce water usage by 1% and tally energy cost savings up to €70,000 per 1 million hectoliters of beer produced.