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Ohio State advocacy group holds panel on how climate change affects beer production

The Ohio State chapter of Defend Our Future, a climate advocacy group, held a panel on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at the Land-Grant Brewing Company in Columbus to discuss how climate change affects beer production. Credit: Shelby Metzger | Lantern Reporter

Climate advocacy group Defend Our Future is furthering its cause by supporting something important to college students: beer.

Defend Our Future, a nonprofit group advocating for clean energy and climate solutions, hosted a panel discussion on Wednesday at the Land-Grant Brewing Company in Columbus. The group has been at Ohio State since 2014.

The primary aim of the panel was to discuss “impacts of climate change on beer production,” according to an email from the group.

The panel consisted of four experts, two of whom were brewers. Chris Davidson, the head brewer at Wolf’s Ridge Brewing, spoke about how higher temperatures impacted his ability to cool down the product.

“As a brewer, one of the things that most directly impacts me is the rising temperatures, especially in the summer,” Davidson said. “In the middle of a really hot summers, that puts a really heavy strain on our refrigerant chiller. It has actually failed in the past.”

Cody Patton, a doctoral student in American environmental business history at Ohio State, discussed how consumers can have a positive impact by supporting breweries that care about the environment.

“I think that one of the biggest things we need to look at as consumers is how corporations talk about nature, but then also how they treat nature,” Patton said. “If it’s just an advertising gimmick, then maybe we shouldn’t, as a consumer, give them our business.”

Davidson agreed consumers of beer have an impact on the state of the environment and said Wolf’s Ridge is beginning to buy products from local Ohio businesses and farmers, noting the positive impact on both the environment and the local economy.

The panel also discussed the importance of the Clean Water Act, enacted federally in 1972 to improve the quality of the nation’s water by eliminating pollutants , on both beer production and the environment.

“We’re celebrating the 50th year our rivers haven’t caught fire,” Kristy Meyer, the vice president of policy and natural resources for the Ohio Environmental Council, said. “[However, there is] a lot of backslide now with our current administration, but also with climate change.”

The Defend Our Future panel reminded audience members that climate change and pollution is ongoing and affecting people at home and abroad. Pollution to the environment, such as the lack of clean water in Flint, Michigan, has drastic and dangerous effects on citizens’ lives. Alan Szuter, the owner of Wolf’s Ridge Brewing Company, wanted to stress the urgency of the issue at hand.

“If you think this is something that’s off in the future, it isn’t,” Szuter said. “It’s already happening, and it’s getting worse.”

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