MillerCoors water usage continues downward trend

3.26 barrels of water used for each barrel of beer

MillerCoors Milwaukee brewery
The MillerCoors brewery in Milwaukee.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:24 pm

Chicago-based MillerCoors reported gains on a number of its sustainability measures in 2015, including reducing water usage by 128.8 million gallons and reducing its water-to-beer ratio by 2.1 percent.

MillerCoors Milwaukee brewery
The MillerCoors brewery in Milwaukee.

The figures are part of the company’s 2016 Sustainability Report, which includes targets for alcohol responsibility, improving the environment and increasing diversity in its workforce and supply chain.

The company has set a target water-to-beer ratio of 3 to 1 by 2020. The company reported an average ratio across its breweries of 3.29 to 1 in 2015, continuing a downward trend over the last five years. In 2011 the ratio was 4.07 to 1.

MillerCoors has seen a 10 million barrel decrease in annual volumes since the company was formed in 2008, but Marty Maloney, a MillerCoors spokesman, said the decreased water usage is not the result of producing less beer.

“We’re always looking to be more efficient with the beer we are producing,” he said.

In particular, the company highlighted its Irwindale, Calif., Fort Worth, Texas, and Eden, North Carolina breweries, which had ratios of 3.01, 3.16 and 2.86 to 1 respectively. Data on the Milwaukee brewery was not included in the report. The company is in the process of closing the Eden brewery.

The company is also working towards having no waste sent to landfills from all its major manufacturing facilities, defined as those with at least 75 employees. Those facilities include eight major breweries, the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. facility in Chippewa Falls, Wis. and the Rocky Mountain Metal Container Can and End plants in Golden, Colo.

All the facilities except the Chippewa Falls brewery are landfill-free. The company is working towards third-party certification of the 11 planned landfill-free sites.

“At MillerCoors, we take our role as a responsible and high-quality corporate citizen very seriously,” said Gavin Hattersley, MillerCoors chief executive officer. “Our sustainability commitment to responsibility, to our communities and to our environment is deeply woven into the fabric of our company. We don’t treat it as a nice to do, it’s a must do for MillerCoors.”

The company’s alcohol responsibility targets include encouraging 20 million people to avoid drunk driving through free ride programs. MillerCoors reported 15.1 million people had taken advantage of its programs since 2008. That includes 44,000 free rides for Wisconsin residents. The Free Rides program offered rides in Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay on New Year’s Eve; home games throughout the 2014-2015 Green Bay Packers season; and during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Milwaukee.

The company has also activated programs in all 100 of its top priority markets.

MillerCoors’ diversity goals including having women comprise 35 percent of its management and people of color make up 21 percent by 2020. As of 2015, women made up 28 percent of management and people of color made up 17 percent.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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