The eco-guide to responsible drinking.

Illuminating answers to environmental questions.
March 16 2009 3:10 PM

Wear Green, Drink Greenly

The eco-guide to responsible drinking.

Those who plan a night (or day) of hearty St. Patrick's Day drinking don't have to sacrifice their eco-consciences along with their motor skills. In March 2008, Brendan I. Koerner pub-crawled his way through the environmental virtues of bottled, canned, and draught beer. His findings are below.

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While you're preparing to get smashed, also give some thought to how your beer is created. Brewing requires a lot of energy, especially during the heat-intensive wort-boil phase. Beer makers have begun taking steps to reduce their environmental impact: New York's Brooklyn Brewery, for example, uses wind-generated electricity to power all of its operations.

Ah, but is wind power all it's cracked up to be? That's fodder for a future column—until then, enjoy toasting the man who apocryphally drove the snakes out of Ireland, and take comfort in the fact that puke is fully biodegradable.

Is there an environmental quandary that's been keeping you up at night? Send it to, and check this space every Tuesday.

Brendan I. Koerner is a contributing editor at Wired and a columnist for Gizmodo. His first book, Now the Hell Will Start, is out now.