MillerCoors now uses an average of 3.48 barrels of water to brew one barrel of beer, a 9.1 percent decrease from 2012, according to the brewer’s latest sustainability report. For comparison, some U.S. breweries use more than 6 barrels of water to produce a single barrel of beer.
In the report, Great Beer, Great Responsibility, MillerCoors says the use of short interval controls and improved efficiencies throughout its brewing and packaging processes yielded significant water savings across its breweries: From 2011 to 2013, the company saved more than 1.1 billion gallons of water as a result of its reductions.
This updates the brewer’s last sustainability report released in September 2013, which reported a 6.1 percent reduction in water use.
MillerCoors also reported on efforts to reduce water use in its agricultural supply chain. Partnering with The Nature Conservancy, MillerCoors built its Showcase Barley Farm in Idaho’s Silver Creek Valley to pilot new farming techniques that save water while still producing quality barley. Using these techniques, the farm has saved more than 429.5 million gallons of water over the past three years. The brewer created a similar program on the MillerCoors Farm in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, where it tests water-saving techniques and shares best practices with barley growers.
Notably, MillerCoors also decreased its energy use by 15.6 percent from 2012, saving 1.6 billion mega joules of energy over the course of 2013. With these reductions and others, the company surpassed all the environmental stewardship goals it set out to achieve by 2015.
In 2013, the MillerCoors Albany and Golden breweries both achieved landfill-free status, meaning more than 99 percent of waste produced there is reused or recycled. Six of MillerCoors eight breweries are now landfill-free. Overall, in 2013 the brewer reduced waste to landfill by more than 1300 tons, a 9.2 percent improvement over 2012.
The report outlines the brewer’s other sustainability achievements in 2013, including:
· Reducing packaging by 3.6 percent from 2012
· Providing more than 639,000 safe rides through the Coors Light and Miller Lite Free Rides programs in 13 communities
· Partnering with the online taxi-finder app Hailo to give away $3 million worth of taxi rides in New York City, Chicago and Boston during the holiday season
· Launching Miller Lite Tap the Future, a competition that pits teams of entrepreneurs against each other for a chance to win a piece of a $400,000 prize pool
· Providing more than 311,000 hours of employee training through MillerCoors University
· Generating $11.37 million for nonprofit partners through employee and corporate fundraising initiatives
· Increasing its spend with diverse suppliers by $493 million
MillerCoors isn’t the only major brewer to report significant sustainability progress. Heineken recently announced it has increased the percentage of renewable electricity it uses in its global operations from 9.3 percent in 2012 to 18 percent, to a total of 358,100,000 kWh.