The processes for making wine, beer, and spirits have remained relatively unchanged for centuries.

In this episode of Here’s an Idea, we look at the efforts of vineyard owners, distillers, and brewers who are discovering small ways to innovate and adjust their own crafting techniques.

We speak with former scientists and engineers who are putting their own sustainable spin on traditional ideas, using knowledge gained from their previous experience in the lab. We also learn that owning and operating a vineyard may be the ultimate retirement plan.

Listen to the episode below.

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Episode highlights include:

  • The process of beer-making involves a series of smaller process, two of which are fermentation and carbonation. Fermentation produces about three times the amount of carbon dioxide needed for carbonation, which just goes to waste. We talk to a team from Lawrence Livermore National Lab about their unique carbon-capturing microcapsule technology. Watch a video of the technology below.
  • Russ Hamilton spent 14 years in the semiconductor industry. He tells us about transitioning into his dream job operating a net-zero vineyard on Red Mountain, in the Southeast corner of Washington State.
  • Jim Batdorf from Solar Spirits shares the story of his unique career path, from chemical engineer to distiller of solar-powered spirits.
  • And we take a tour of Randolph Beer in Brooklyn, NY. Before our visit, head brewer and former chemist JR warned us that, "There are some fun tricks we use through the manipulations of Newtonian physics and thermodynamics that make life easier, but to tell you the truth the brewing industry is very archaic in terms of innovation and technology." We find some truth to that statement, but also learn a lot.
JR, head brewer at Randolph Beer, walks us through the beer-making process.


Watch how the Lawrence Livermore National Lab team is adapting their carbon capture technology to craft beer making.

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