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Most Beer Drinkers Would Pay More Money for Sustainable Beer, According to Study

It's worth the price, if it means saving the planet.
IMAGE IGORBUKHLIN/GETTY IMAGES
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The world asks for a lot of money from you. A few pesos here for guac on the side. Extra fees there for faster shipping. A chunk out of your paycheck toward the nanny. And you pay up, because life is tough and you deserve some perks, dammit. But would you pay an extra hundred for a favorite vice—beer—if it would benefit not you, but the planet?

That's the question explored in a new study connecting the beer industry and sustainability with you, the intrepid beer drinker. Researchers from Indiana University surveyed 1,095 Americans and found that a majority of them (59 percent) were willing to pay more money for sustainable beer. On average, the respondents said they'd pay as much as 22 cents more for a 12 oz. beer, which adds up to $1.30 more for a six pack of beer. That's not nothing. The results were published in the journal PLOS One.

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Sustainable beer practices go well with craft brewing ethos, where doing unique and quirky shit gets your name out there. Allagash Brewing in Maine is committed to purchasing locally grown grain. Yards Brewing in Pennsylvania is completely powered by wind. New Belgium Brewing in Colorado has drastically cut down on waste. The list goes on.

But huge beer companies are making changes, too. MillerCoors cut its water usage down by 17 percent in 2016. Anheuser-Busch announced lofty eco-friendly goals to be reached by 2025. That commitment by big and small brewers alike was reflected in the survey results, which found that drinkers who stick exclusively to cheap American beers weren't any different than drinkers who prefer craft beer.

"Consumers of traditional American lagers—think Budweiser and Coors—were as likely to be willing to pay more as those who prefer craft beers, a category that includes such exotic brews as avocado honey ale and a wild ale brewed with yeast cultured from the brewmaster's beard hairs," said a press release for the study.

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There are stipulations, of course. The quality of the beer couldn't be compromised, nor would respondents stand for an inconsistent product. In other words, the eco beer still has to taste like the beer they know and love and occasionally drink way too much of. But price hikes to cover the cost of new, sustainable production equipment and more won't scare off beer drinkers, if they know it's for a good cause: the future of our planet.

Sure, that future is pretty damn iffy these days; it may discourage you from even wanting to try at all. But plenty of folks out there still are. And if you're going to sit on your ass and drink a beer while the world goes up in flames or gets thrashed by oceanic superstorms, then what's an extra $1.30? That next six-pack just might help save the world.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.

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* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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