Our view: To beer or not to beer

We’re looking forward to this year’s Budweiser Super Bowl commercials.
At $3.5 million for each 30-second spot, Anheuser-Busch hopes that their 10 or so Bud commercials are memorable and create a social-media buzz for months to come.
Generating somewhat less of a buzz mid-January, the Fort Collins Anheuser-Busch brewery made the list as Larimer County’s second-worst polluter according to the Environmental Protection
Agency’s 2010 Toxic Release Inventory. A-B’s ammonia releases reached 29,000 pounds in 2010, up from previous reporting periods.
The coal-burning Rawhide Energy power plant topped the EPA’s TRI list for Larimer County.
Point-source ammonia 1.) is classified as a toxic gas; 2.) affects the health of those living near it; 3.) could be contributing to higherthan-normal nitrogen levels in Rocky Mountain National Park and 4.) contributes to formation of secondary particulate matter (air
pollution).
Following the lead of the smaller, local and more environmentally friendly breweries, Anheuser-Busch could choose to keep the ammonia in a closed-loop system. It would cost more, but would undoubtedly cut into the company’s ability to produce prize-winning
30-second TV spots.
And, at the risk of being branded a heretic for speaking ill of barley pop within a 30-mile radius of Fort Collins, it’s the simple truth that beer’s probably not the most environmentally friendly
beverage. Unlike winemaking — crush grapes, filter, ferment — beer
brewing requires multiple steps of cooking malted grains or rice in
water, then rinsing and repeating.
Brewing beer at a commercial scale involves burning lots of fossil fuel, consumes millions of gallons of water (outside of the water incorporated in the beer itself) and, unlike electricity, is not critical to mankind’s survival.
So grab a Bud, ponder your carbon footprint for a few seconds, then enjoy the game.

We get about 400 press releases each month at North Forty News, including two-dozen or so from Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (that asks us to give them free publicity while taxpayers foot the bill for DORA’s paid commercial ad blitz on Denver
television airwaves).
Our readers love staying informed on local events and happenings, and we’re happy to run local items on our pages or in the online calendar.
Keep in mind that there’s not enough room for all the 100-plus local news releases, so if you’re really, really psyched about readers seeing your message, the best avenue is a small advertisement. It’s cheaper than you think, and we offer discounts for qualified 501(c)
(3) organizations. With an ad, you can tell our readers everything you want about
your event (versus a press release that might not make it into the
paper). Call us today at 970-221-0213.

Thanks this month to renewing subscribers Len Roark, Eleanor Armstrong and Ren & Sharon Jensen. And to new subscriber Oliver Richardson of Fort Collins.

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