Sake and Climate Change
As a sake expert, I’m often asked how sake contributes to climate change. The truth is, the production of sake does have an environmental impact, and it’s important to understand the role it plays in the global climate crisis.
Sake is a traditional Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice. It’s been around for centuries, and is enjoyed all over the world. The process of making sake involves steaming and mashing the rice, and then adding yeast and koji, a type of mold, to the mixture. This process is then repeated several times, and the resulting liquid is filtered and aged before it is ready to drink.
Sake production requires a lot of clean water, and this is where it has the biggest impact on the environment. The process also uses a lot of energy, which results in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In addition, sake production generates a lot of waste, which can have a negative impact on the environment if it’s not disposed of properly.
How Sake is Produced
The production of sake begins with the selection of the rice. The type of rice used is important, as it will determine the flavor and quality of the sake. Once the rice is selected, it is washed and steamed, and then mixed with koji and yeast. This mixture is then left to ferment for several days.
The next step is filtration, which is done to remove impurities and ensure the sake has a smooth flavor. The filtered sake is then aged for several months, and then blended and bottled.
The production of sake has a significant environmental impact. The process requires a lot of clean water, and the water used in the process is not always recycled or reused. This means that a lot of water is wasted in the production of sake.
In addition, the production of sake generates a lot of GHG emissions. The energy used to steam and mash the rice, as well as to filter and bottle the sake, all contribute to GHG emissions. The fermentation process also produces carbon dioxide, which is a GHG.
Finally, the production of sake generates a lot of waste. The leftover rice and other byproducts of the process are usually disposed of in landfills, where they can have a negative impact on the environment.
Fortunately, there are some sustainable solutions to reduce the environmental impact of sake production. One way to reduce the amount of water used in the process is to use renewable resources, such as rainwater or recycled water. This can help to reduce the amount of water wasted in the production of sake.
In addition, sake producers can reduce their GHG emissions by using renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power. This can help to reduce the amount of energy used in the production of sake.
Finally, sake producers can reduce their waste by recycling and reusing materials. For example, the leftover rice can be used as fertilizer, and the byproducts of the process can be used as animal feed.
The production of sake has an environmental impact, but there are ways to reduce this impact. By using renewable resources, releasing less emissions, and recycling and reusing materials, sake producers can reduce their environmental footprint. With these sustainable solutions, sake producers can ensure that their products are produced in a more sustainable way.