MillerCoors Announces Goal to Reduce Water Usage, Expand Sustainability Programs

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More sustainable brewing news: MillerCoors has announced plans to reduce its water-to-beer ratio to three-to-one by 2020.

The goals were projected following an announcement that MillerCoors had already used 15 billion fewer gallons of water in 2016 compared to 2015, a 17 percent reduction in water usage, reported the Beer Connoisseur. This is equivalent to more than 500 million kegs, they said.

Water volume is a weighty issue in the brewing industry, where the typical water amount used to create beer sits at a ratio of about 8 gallons of water to one gallon of beer. For a brewing company as vast as MillerCoors, which operates seven major breweries throughout the United States, a reduction this large is significant, requiring changes at every stage of the beer-making process, from farming techniques to brewing efficiencies. By 2020, the conglomerate hopes to reach a water-to-beer ratio of three-to-one.

Said Karina Diehl, director of community affairs at MillerCoors:

“When it comes to water savings at our breweries and across our agricultural system, 2016 was a banner year at MillerCoors. We’re proud of the water efficiencies achieved at our breweries by our passionate and innovative employees, and we are proud of our long-standing partnerships with our growers. These partnerships span multiple generations and are a driving force behind using less water in 2016. While this was a unique year, we are committed to developing innovative ways to use less water across our system for years to come.”

MillerCoors has been researching and developing water conservation techniques at its Showcase Barley Farms, located in Idaho and Colorado. Precision irrigation technologies and practices, soil improvements, and companion cropping are three tactics being developed. Once finalized, best practices are shared through the MillerCoors barley program. One way the company plans to do this is through its Grower Portal, a digital platform launched in 2016 to enable information gathering and data sharing among barley farmers, to further enhance water savings.

Along with the 2020 goals, the company also announced plans to work with Molson Coors on 2025 Global Goals for its companies.