Bioengineer Charles Denby is working to make beer and wine more sustainable

Read the full story at Chemical & Engineering News.

When Charles Denby looks at a pint of beer, he sees a product of one of the oldest biotechnologies in the world. Beer- and winemaking are now under threat from climate change: experts expect the taste of beer to change and prices to go up as drought and high temperatures impact the growth and supply of hops, barley, and fruit crops.

Denby hopes to reform brewing with molecular engineering. Berkeley Yeast—the start-up he cofounded in 2017 as Berkeley Fermentation Science—is engineering yeast to produce key molecules that give beers and wines distinct flavors. This should allow craft brewers and winemakers to produce bold-flavored beverages with fewer hops and less fruit. “Our mission is to create technology that’s good for people and the planet,” he says. But persuading customers that the modified yeast is safe to use in their products has taken work.

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