Protecting and preserving water quality is a top priority at MillerCoors. Learn how the company partners with The Nature Conservancy, River Network and Trinity Waters to protect waterways in the US, while at the same time, building a word-class system of zero-waste-to-landfill breweries.

Consider the impact close to home…as it includes a community partnership with local barley farmers in Idaho’s Silvercreek Valley, where much of the industry’s barely is grown. Precision-irrigation farming has been employed to reduce water use while not reducing yields. The company has, in fact, reduced its water to beer ratio to 3.82:1, a 17% improvement in just 5 years.

MillerCoors has also led the development of two new commercial varieties of “green” barely, Moravian 69 and 15, which reduce fresh water use while providing higher yields. This year, the company’s multi-faceted efforts have been recognized with a United States Water Prize. 

Transcript

A: Water is one of our most precious resources and it is especially important in brewing great beer. That's why, at Miller Coors, we make protecting and preserving water quality a top priority. From partnering with organizations like the Nature Conservancy, River Network and Trinity Waters to protect water ways in the U.S., to building a world class system of zero waste to landfill breweries, we focus on turning our good intentions into actions.

In an effort to identify opportunities for water savings in our operations, we recently conducted a water blue print of our entire brewing system, from agricultural suppliers all the way through distribution. This process uncovered that 90% of water use in our operations was attributable to our agricultural supply chain. Realizing this opportunity, we partnered with the Nature Conservancy and local barley farmers in Idaho's Silver Creek Valley, where much of our industry's barley is grown, to launch a precision irrigation project to use less water in barley farming without reducing yields.

B:We're retro-fitting a pivot. This is a part of the water conservation program that will conserve up to 450,000 gallons of water every time that pivot goes around.

A: As part of the partnership, we also launched the showcase barley farm, an innovative working agricultural laboratory dedicated to finding new ways to use water more efficiently while growing barley and to help share water conservation practices throughout the barley growing region. We've even pioneered the creation of a new strain of barley that uses less water and produces higher yields.

C: Not only have they done a good job of saving fresh water, they also saved electricity because all that water that comes out of the creek has to be pumped onto the barley field. We're taking that farm and trying to move the practices that work so well to scale by inviting other farmers to come and observe that work.

D: We appreciate the fact that Miller Coors, from the early years, has established this great relationship with their growers and put an emphasis on a really high quality product instead of just buying it straight from a malting house.

A: From leading agricultural research to innovative approaches to irrigation, we're very proud to report that our efforts are paying big dividends in just its first two years. The work at the showcase barley farm has saved approximately 270 million gallons of water. At the same time, we've reduced our brewery's water to beer ratio to 3.82 to one, well below the industry's standard of five to one.

We're honored to be named as one of the winners of the U.S. water alliance's water prize for 2013. We take it not only as recognition of our hard work, but as a challenge to find even more ways to protect our most vital resource throughout our operations.