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Scarcity of water concerns beer-makers

A scarcity of water is raising concerns for the makers of small craft beers in the Upper Midwest.

Those brewers are attending a two-day conference in Milwaukee which began yesterday.

State Commerce Secretary Richard Leinenkugel says the price of water will keep going up as supplies get tight.

And for beer-makers, it's a huge problem for two reasons.

First, the product itself is 92 percent water. And it normally takes six pints of water to make a one pint of beer.

Fred Strachan of the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., says beer-makers want to reduce that margin. He says his company's flagship brewery in Chico, Calif., will put in flow-meters at each stage of the filtration process, with the goal of meeting new conservation rules that will inevitable be adopted.

Strachan says access to water is just as important as tax rates in deciding where to locate a business.

Leinenkugel says he knows how important good water can be.

He said his great-great-grandfather started his family's brewery at Chippewa Falls in 1867, because it was close to Big Eddy Springs.