Water conservation is one of MillerCoors top environmental priorities. In 2012, the company’s conservation efforts led to a 6.1 percent reduction in water use. Last year, MillerCoors used a record low 3.82 barrels of water to produce a barrel of beer, compared to the up to 6.62 barrels of water that other breweries use. The company’s water reduction milestone was just one of many highlights of the 2013 MillerCoors Brewing for Good sustainability report.
A variety of water reduction projects are underway at MillerCoors including a water footprint assessment project that will reduce water use across its supply chain, the use of new technologies that use less or no water like the chlorine dioxide cleaning system in place at the company’s Eden Brewery, and the implementation of short-interval controls. Short-interval controls allow employees to quickly identify and correct problems in the brewing process.
In addition to working on in-house water reduction measures, MillerCoors also partnered with The Nature Conservancy to create the Showcase Barley Farm in Idaho. Idaho and other states in the region have faced severe drought conditions for years and so it is the perfect place for MillerCoors to test out new water reduction techniques. Over the course of two years, the brewer has saved more than 270 million gallons of water and the processes in place at the Idaho facility will be expanded to facilities in other water-starved states in the region including Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.
MillerCoors is currently working towards achieving a 3.50:1 water-to-beer ratio by 2015. The company started at 4.10:1 in 2008, which was set as the baseline goal, and 2012 marked the first year the company-wide water use average dropped below the 4.00:1 ratio. Some of its breweries have already met the 2015 goal including Eden (3.34:1) and Fort Worth (3.47:1). In addition to the two breweries that have reached the 2015 goal, two locations improved water efficiency by nearly 15 percent compared to 2011 – Eden and Milwaukee.
MillerCoors’ commitment to the environment goes beyond water conservation, though. The Brewing for Good report highlights several other achievements including:
- Energy efficiency measures led to a 5.4 percent reduction in energy use
- MillerCoors and its employees raised $14.2 million for nonprofit organizations
- Half of the MillerCoors breweries send zero waste to local landfills
- Packaging changes on the 12-pack bottle cartons reduce weight by 10 percent per carton