Beer has been a significant element in human history and the identity of Canada since its introduction by European settlers in the seventeenth century. Defined generally as an alcoholic beverage made from a malted grain (usually barley), water, possibly a herb or spice for flavor such as hops, the whole being fermented with yeast, beer has been brewed for thousands of years. Archaeological evidence abounds—hieroglyphics, statuettes, written records—illustrating the human occupation of making beer going back six to nine thousand years. Brewing was arguably one of the first scientific endeavors. Indeed, brewing is widely regarded as both an art and a science.
Canada is very much a nation of beer drinkers. Despite a general decline in sales over the last few years, beer is still the most popular alcoholic beverage among Canadian consumers. However, beer drinkers are increasingly swinging more and more towards imported brands to quench their thirst. In 2015, imported beer sales in Canada rose to 3.73 million hectoliters. According to IBISWorld, approximately 30 percent of domestic beer consumption was generated by men aged 19 to 34 years old.
On the retail end, vendors not only sell beer but handle bottle returns. A bottle can be reused 15 to 20 times, preventing enormous wastage. Once a bottle is spent, it is crushed and sent to glass-makers for the manufacture of new bottles. Aluminum beer cans are also crushed and recycled, as are the beer cartons. Draught beer is sold in reusable kegs that can last 15 to 20 years before they too are also crushed and recycled. Even the husks of the spent grain used in the brewing process are recycled. After use in the brewing process, they are collected and sold as animal feed.
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