With annual revenues close to $7.6 billion, MillerCoors is the second largest beer company in America. The company markets a portfolio of more than 65 beers: flagship brands such as Miller Genuine, Miller Light and Coors Light, and an array of fast growing craft, premium and imported brands such as Blue Moon, Foster's, Peroni, and Grolsch. Two significant mergers over the past five years have boosted MillerCoors to a lead market position. In 2005, Coors and Molson merged. Three years later, SABMiller and Molson Coors joined their North American and Puerto Rico operations to create MillerCoors.
At the time of the 2008 merger, the MillerCoors executive team committed to sustainability throughout their business operation. Their tagline: "Great Beer, Great Responsibility." GreenBiz.com's Heather King talks with Tom Long, MillerCoors President and Chief Commercial Officer about the legacies of Frederick Miller and Adolph Coors, zero waste brewing, and the importance of measurable goals.
When SABMiller and Coors merged, your executive team re-invigorated a corporate commitment to becoming the leading beer company "the right way." Can you speak to the "traditions" of sustainability in Miller and Coors? Is corporate legacy driving MillerCoors sustainability commitment?
Adolph Coors and Frederick Miller were both strong founders, deeply involved in their communities. Coors' Golden brewery's water comes from Clear Creek, a resource proximate to the brewery. Miller's Caves were also formed because of its access to the fresh water sources of Plank Road. For both founders, there was a fundamental link between natural resources and the ability to produce quality beers. Protecting water sources was core to their businesses.
Today, our commitment to sustainability extends beyond our history of environmental stewardship. Sustainability is important to our employees. Our company attracts young people [for employment] for whom sustainability is a passion point. Sustainability is also progressively more important to our consumer base. Although studies report that people do not make purchase decisions based on a company's environmental record, our view is that more and more consumers are making such choices. They buy brands with which they can identify. For our market, environmental stewardship is increasingly a factor.
MillerCoors' sustainability report highlights your progress with water conservation, waste and packaging reduction, supply chain initiatives and carbon footprint reduction. What is your most significant win in advancing sustainability?
The most satisfying wins are those driven by employees who find ways to make a real difference. Three of our breweries maintained a water-to-beer ratio under 4.0 in 2009. Water is a finite world resource that is essential to the brewing process. Companywide, in 2009 we used 4.1 barrels of water per barrel of beer. Last year, our Texas brewery recorded ratios as low as 3.4 barrels of water per barrel of beer. That plays into our 2015 target ratio to reduce our water usage by 15 percent to achieve a 3.5:1.0 water-to-beer ratio across all plants.