Making The Most Of Every Drop
We all know high quality water is crucial to sustaining life. For MillerCoors, it’s also the most essential ingredient in our product and plays a starring role at almost every point of our production chain. That’s why we’re committed to leading water stewardship by protecting watersheds and exploring more ways to make the most of every drop. To achieve this, our water strategy is focused on working with farmers, NGOs and local municipalities to:
- Improve water efficiency and manage wastewater in our breweries
- Lead water conservation, improve soil health and biodiversity, and advance water restoration efforts in our brewery watersheds.
- Reduce water use in our agricultural supply chain.
To learn more about our efforts in our Agricultural Supply Chain read this article in Progressive Farmer.
In April 2018, MillerCoors Milwaukee Brewery became the first brewing operation in the world to achieve the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) standard certification.
Increasing Efficiencies in Our Breweries
Water is involved in just about every part of the beer manufacturing process. Each of our breweries undertakes detailed watershed risk assessment and also completes our water risk index. This approach has allowed us to set targets that focus resources to drive the right behavior on water, reducing risk across the enterprise. That’s why, by 2025, we’re aiming to improve water-use efficiency in our breweries by 22% to achieve a 2.8 hl/hl water-to-beer ratio.
We have increased water efficiency in our brewery operations by employing innovative monitoring and processing systems, including short interval controls and optimizing clean-in-place systems to reduce rinse cycles. In 2016, we achieved an average water-to-beer ratio across our major breweries of 3.20:1.0, which brings us one step closer to our goal of reaching 3.0:1.0 by 2020.
Beyond Our Breweries
To protect and enhance the watersheds our operations use, we’re working to improve the quantity of water in the regions that we operate while also improving water quality for our communities. We aim to restore water to watersheds and carry out environmental improvements through collaborative partnerships, focusing on three key categories of water risk – quantity, quality and regulatory. Towards 2025, we hope to continue strengthening our partnerships and are looking to collaborate even further on safeguarding the valuable resources in our high-risk watersheds where our breweries are located.
Our Water Partnerships
We believe that working with others on water stewardship is critical. Not only does it allow us to gain a greater understanding of water in the communities we operate in, but it also helps us to find solutions that ultimately help us meet our own goals.
We prioritize water stewardship beyond our own operations because we are committed to helping ensure everyone, especially those in our brewery watersheds, has access to high-quality water for years to come.
2018 Lake Michigan Days
The Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership (LNRP) and LMS sponsor the annual Lake Michigan Champions of Conservation Awards. This environmental award program recognizes and honors the outstanding achievements in three categories: Water Resources Protection, Environmental Education and Outreach and Land Use Protection and Habitat Restoration. The 2018 champions include: Associate Professor Rebecca Abler and Professor Richard Hein at UW-Manitowoc, Lower Fox Demonstration Farms Network and MillerCoors. Learn more about all the great work we and our fellow 2018 recipients have done at Lake Michigan stakeholders champions.
Resilient Agricultural Supply Chain
We work with our barley growers to help conserve, improve and reduce water use on their farms, which leads to greater watershed health for all stakeholders. We focus significant energy and resources in this area, since more than 90 percent of our water footprint occurs upstream in our agricultural supply chain.
- Malt Barley Production Field Study: In 2015, we continued our partnership with Syngenta, Western Sugar Cooperative and Field to Market to study malt barley production. All of our growers provide us with data on water, energy and nitrogen use, as well as land use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and soil loss. This information is helping us better understand how we can help growers improve their yields and their environmental performance.
- Showcase Barley Valley, Idaho: Our work in Idaho’s Silver Creek Valley is an example of how our sustainability programs are managing and reducing agricultural water risks. Overall, continued water conservation practices, implemented on farms throughout the valley over the past two years with MillerCoors support, are collectively restoring approximately 550 million gallons of water per year.
- San Luis Valley, Colorado: We began working with NRCS in 2015 to implement a program in the San Luis Valley and the Gunnison and Colorado River Basins to increase awareness and participation in water conservation programs. This collaboration aims to help reduce agricultural water risks for our 150 barley growers across the state and to improve the overall health of Colorado watersheds.
Partnering To Protect Texas Water Supplies
MillerCoors has partenered with the United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to improve the health of the Trinity Watershed in Texas. The Trinity River is a vital water source to MillerCoors as well as millions of local residents and thousands of wildlife species.
Water quality is directly related not only to the health of the land but also quality beer. We support the National Water Quality Initiative project in Texas in order to enact positive environmental change for the future of water in America. Because of this partnership between NRCS, MillerCoors, farmers and ranchers — we've been able to restore 6 billion gallons of water to the Trinity River since 2012.