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Closing the Loop on Beer’s Biggest Ingredient: Water

John Kimmich of The Alchemist talks about the brewery’s long-term environmental efforts and how its impact is already being felt.

John Holl Jan 30, 2019 - 7 min read

Closing the Loop on Beer’s Biggest Ingredient: Water Primary Image

Photo by Jamie Bogner

The quality of and commitment to the beer that comes out of The Alchemist in Stowe, Vermont, is never in question. Heady Topper is the hazy IPA of legend that we should drink from the can.

The brewer’s artwork is intricate and immediately recognizable, and the founders, Jen and John Kimmich, are rock stars in the beer world. On any given day when the brewery is open for business, a line of excited and eager customers wait for their cases. Pictures will be snapped of the fermentors and other brewing equipment, and then most will simply get in their cars for the next Vermont beer adventure.

Only a very few ever ask, or even want to see, a sealed-off back room at the brewery—one with an immediately identifiable unpleasant odor. It’s where the brewery houses its wastewater-treatment equipment, and it’s the room John Kimmich wants everyone to see.

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John Holl is the author of Drink Beer, Think Beer: Getting to the Bottom of Every Pint, and has worked for both Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and All About Beer Magazine.