Green beer is not just for St. Patrick’s Day anymore. Now, an enzyme enables brewers to produce green beer from unmalted barley, saving energy and reducing raw material costs. The biotech advance comes from Novozymes, headquartered in Bagsvaerd, Denmark.

The enzyme, Novozymes Ondea Pro, "enables brewers to create great-tasting beer while optimizing raw material utilization and reducing their carbon footprint - all with one simple process," says Soren Lund, U.S. marketing manager for brewing. "With the long-term trend toward industrialization of the brewing process and ever-rising raw material prices, brewers are seeking effective solutions that do not jeopardize the consumer’s experience.”

The malting of barley involves soaking the grain in water to allow it to germinate. The grain is then dried, a process that utilizes both water and energy. By avoiding this step, CO2 emissions can be reduced. Compared to the conventional brewing process, Novozymes says it has documented a 7 percent reduction in the amount of barley required to produce beer, decreasing operating costs for brewers.

The resulting beer can be sold as a standalone product or it can be blended with traditional beer made with malt. Ondea Pro also can be blended into a different raw material mix of malt and barley in the beginning of the production process.