California craft brewers with drafts and drought

Water restrictions force them to shelve investment, consider leaving the state.

FALLBROOK, Calif. — California craft brewers are scrambling to deal with water restrictions imposed by the state to relieve drought conditions.

Breweries are digging wells, installing wastewater treatment plants and seeking exemptions from local water boards that control water use and can impose fines. Some are shelving planned expansions.

If Mother Nature doesn’t bring significant showers and snowstorms this fall and winter, some breweries may be forced to leave the state.

A typical craft brewery uses up to 7 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of beer. Some in California have decreased that ratio to less than 5-to-1. But they are still being asked to cut back to meet the state mandate, which aims for California’s overall urban water use to go down by 25% when compared with 2013.

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