Could freeze-dried beer be eco-friendly?

We look at any and all press releases which appear on April 1 to be sure that we're no fools when deciding on whether to report on them. We've pasted one after the break issued by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) in the U.K. which suggests that there is CO2 to be saved in the transportation of beer. One catch: it needs to be freeze-dried. There's not much in the aforementioned press release to make us think that this is a joke, with the exception of this quote, "Freeze drying has successfully delivered excellent coffee for millions of people over nearly half a century." At the risk of sounding like coffee-snobs, we must chuckle a bit when we read the words "excellent coffee" and "freeze-dried" in the same sentence. Perhaps you'd be surprised to hear that freeze-dried beer is not a new idea. Additionally, we're no freeze-drying experts, but we're not certain that the alcohol would be left intact throughout the process.
April Foolery or not, the idea of brewing beer, dehydrating it, freezing it, shipping it and re-hydrating it before it ever gets served sends freeze-dried chills down our collective spines. Still, saving some CO2 is something we could raise our glasses to... filled with beer we brewed in our basements.
Brewery transport to run dry

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is to work with elements of the brewing industry to develop ways of cutting the costs and environmental impact of its specialist transport systems. A particular aim is to explore the opportunities offered by technology transfer, as this generally means that ideas can be put to work quickly, with a minimum of expensive and often theoretical research.

Already one of the most promising lines of enquiry lies in the transfer of technology and established practice from other parts of the beverage industry. "Specifically, we're looking at the possibility of freeze drying beer, said Robin Dickeson, manager commercial vehicle affairs for the SMMT. "There seem to be some real opportunities here; beer is around 99.5% water, so if we could freeze dry it, deliver powder by road and the water through the normal water mains, we'd have a winner."

Freeze drying has successfully delivered excellent coffee for millions of people over nearly half a century. The group believes that small vans could easily deliver the freeze dried equivalent to truck loads of draught beer. This would save huge amounts of increasingly expensive diesel and even more CO2 "Every litre of diesel burnt means over two and a half times its weight in CO2, so the environmental gains of using the existing water transport system, the mains, are very attractive."

If the tests are successful following their start next year, Dickeson expects the group to turn its attention to other consumer products with a very high water content. "Wine is a clear candidate too, as one might save the weight of glass bottles as well as the weight of that 99% water content."

[Source: SMMT]

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