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At Saltwater Brewery, help for ailing oceans

.@SaltWaterBrewer's Chris Gove to discuss edible six-pack rings, ocean conservation at @SFScienceCenter.

You don't get far into a conversation with Chris Gove without believing that, against all odds, the world's oceans may yet survive the abuse human beings have heaped upon them.

The Delray Beach native is a former student at the prestigious Saint Andrew's School in Boca Raton and a graduate of the University of San Diego, where he studied mechanical engineering and finance. With an analytical mind and entrepreneurial instincts, Gove likes a challenge.

With a background in surfing and fishing, Gove also likes beer, and his efforts to save the oceans got started in earnest after he and some buddies opened Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach in 2013.

"Our whole brewery is based on the ocean. Anything we can do to help out the ocean, we're going to do," says Gove, 29.

Since its inception, Saltwater Brewery has developed relationships with conservation-based charities such as the Coastal Conservation Association, the Surfrider Foundation, the Ocean Foundation and Mote Marine Lab.

In April, Saltwater Brewery made national news with a six-pack ring created not with plastic but biodegradable material, edible by fish, made from wheat and barley remnants left over from the beer-brewing process.

There is no shortage of material at Saltwater Brewery, which Gove says produces about 45,000 pounds of spent grain per week, used as compost or animal feed picked up by local farmers.

The response to the edible six-pack rings, which has included overtures from large beverage companies, prompted the brewery to stop production after 500 rings to consider how the idea might be expanded to other biodegradable products.

"We're now focused on the network and infrastructure to create a real company that can provide packaging solutions to different industries," Gove says. "Our focus is reducing the marine debris in the ocean. We know we can't take on the whole world's plastic problem, but if we help spread the knowledge we've learned, that's the fastest way to reduce it."

On Thursday, Aug. 18, Gove will be at Saltwater Brewery as host and featured speaker during Science on Tap, a casual science Q-and-A series hosted by the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium at various drinking establishments around Palm Beach County. The free gatherings offer a laid-back vibe and discounted drinks.

Gove says his discussion will cover the science of brewing beer, but also the environmental issues of packaging and delivering the product, and the scourge of single-use plastic.

"It's how we are reducing our carbon footprint, not just on working on cleanup but focusing upstream," he says. "We're trying to educate the world that cleanups are good but they're not going to stop the problem."

Science on Tap will take place 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18, at Saltwater Brewery, 1701 W. Atlantic Ave., in Delray Beach. Admission is free. Call 561-370-7740 or go to SFScienceCenter.org or SaltwaterBrewery.com.

bcrandell@southflorida.com

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