Challenging climate change with beer

By Nichola Murphy
Tuesday, 14 November, 2017

Scottish-based brewery Brewdog has launched a protest beer which aims to ‘shake the world by the shoulders’ and encourage world leaders to take action against climate change. In particular, the company has targeted US President Donald Trump following his decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and his continued denial of the effects of climate change on the environment.

Brewdog’s environmental standpoint is clear from the beer’s packaging and processing, and even the title ‘Make Earth Great Again’. Not only does the beer mimic Trump’s election campaign slogan, but its label also features a comic-like, robotic illustration of the president fighting against one of the biggest casualties of climate change: a polar bear.

Partnering with climate change charity 10:10, all proceeds from the beer will be donated to the charity to help fuel their fight against climate change and bring about legislative changes.

“Make Earth Great Again is a reaction to declining interest from notable world leaders to the biggest issues facing our planet and civilisation,” BrewDog co-founder James Watt explained. “Beer is a universal language, with the capacity to make an impact the world over, so we decided to make a statement and brew a beer that could have a direct, positive impact on climate change — both through supporting an organisation making a difference and providing a vehicle for craft beer fans to make their voices heard by the establishment.”

Alice Bell, director of communications at 10:10 Climate Action, praised Brewdog’s attempt to raise awareness of the issue.

“At 10:10, we often say that one of the more powerful things you can do to tackle climate change is talk about it. And what better way to start those conversations than a bottle of beer? There is an odd silence when it comes to climate change — perhaps understandably, we don’t want to think about it too much. But this silence makes it harder for us to know what the problems and solutions really are, and keeps the pressure off people who could help change things,” said Bell.

The saison beer — fermented at a higher temperature than any other beer style — hints towards the rising temperatures that have developed as a result of climate change.

According to statistics on Brewdog’s website, the Greenland ice sheet loses the same mass as 23 billion London buses every year. As a result, the beer’s ingredients are sourced from areas most affected by global warming, including water from melting Arctic ice caps and endangered Arctic cloudberries.

For those visiting BrewDog’s bar in London, a schooner of beer will be poured from a beer tap inside a replica of a life-sized polar bear.

The White House is also expecting a delivery of a case of BrewDog’s Make Earth Great Again beer in order to gain the president’s attention and encourage conversation around this topic.

“This beer is our statement of intent to hold a mirror up to all of the establishment figures that could and should do more on an issue that affects everyone on the planet,” Watt stated.

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