The Milwaukee MillerCoors brewery will be the first brewery in the world to implement an international water stewardship standard, the company announced Monday.
[caption id="attachment_121985" align="alignright" width="350"] The MillerCoors brewery in Milwaukee.[/caption]
The Alliance for Water Stewardship International Water Stewardship Standard requires companies to align their internal production processes with an understanding of external watershed risks. To be certified, companies must demonstrate an understanding of their own water use, watershed context and shared concerns in terms of water governance, water quantity, water quality and important water related areas.
“At MillerCoors we are always interested in having a better understanding of the dynamics of our watersheds, as ensuring there is a good supply of quality water is critical to our community and to making great beer” said Audrey Templeton, environmental safety and health manager for MillerCoors.
MillerCoors as a company is seeking to reduce its water-to-beer ratio to an average of 3:1. The company was at 3.2:1 in 2016, down 10 percent since 2013.
Templeton said while reducing water consumption by the brewery is important, in the Milwaukee area it is even more important to focus on water equality.
“We will continue to have water efficiency as part of our action, but using less water means there’s less water that needs to be treated in the end,” she said.
MillerCoors does have some direct discharge into the Menomonee River and Templeton said implementing the standard will help the brewery meet looming lower limits from the Department of Natural Resources on the amount of phosphorus in the discharge.
“I don’t think you’ll see huge physical changes going on at the brewery,” she said.
The changes will be more about the brewery’s internal processes. Templeton noted a lot of water is used for cleaning in the brewery and while the amount of cleaning won’t decrease, implementing the standard could help make sure it is done in an optimal way.
Having MillerCoors implement the standard in Milwaukee is also a big win for AWS, which has its North American offices in the Global Water Centerin Milwaukee.
Matt Howard, director of AWS North America, said the decision by MillerCoors provided a boost of credibility for the standard.
“I’d like to get a couple more sites here in the (Menomonee Valley) to implement,” he said, adding the region could be a demonstration site globally for the potential benefits of the standard.