SABMiller urges ‘water-smart’ brewing

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 4th May 2010

SABMiller’s Head of Sustainable Development, Andy Wales, last week emphasised the need for ‘water-smart’ business practices in the beverage industry.

Writing in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Wales warns beverage companies that ‘quick-wins’ like water-usage labelling are not enough, and that direct measures – such as accurate water supply analysis – are required

“We’re already working on industry-leading targets to reduce our direct impact, like reducing the water we use in brewing by 25% by 2015. But even this is not enough. The reality is that no water means no beer. Any business that relies on water must look beyond the obvious and think laterally – across the whole supply chain – about how to better manage water,” Wales writes.

According to Wales, the beer brewing process takes in 45 times as much water as it puts out beer.  For one pint of beer, only five pints are used in the brewery – the other 40 are used to grow the grain the beer is brewed from.

Wales emphasised the need for cooperation between industries, governments, NGOs, farmers and consumers in the reduction of water usage, and suggested that research like water-footprinting and mapping watersheds would assist in identifying the right methods of saving water.

SABMiller, in conjunction with Coca-Cola Amatil, distributes Miller, Grolsch and Peroni beers in Australia.  The joint venture, Pacific Beverages, also owns Australian premium brewer Bluetongue, who alse make low-carbohydrate Bondi Blonde.  The new Bluetongue brewery in Warnervale, NSW, is expected to be completed this year.