Anheuser-Busch's Water Use Flat Despite Increased Production

Anheuser-Busch's Water Use Flat Despite Increased Production

In the past five years, Anheuser-Busch's companywide water use has increased 2.4 percent and beverage production went up about 2 percent as well. But due to a number of efforts, the brewer has reduced the amount of water it takes to make beer, keeping its water use flat.

The company shows how its resource use and emissions have changed (mostly going down, but some fluctuating) over recent years and explains its environmental goals in its first corporate social responsibility report (PDF). The company operates 12 breweries in the U.S., 15 in China, one in India and one in the United Kingdom. The report includes information on the U.S. and U.K. breweries along with one from China.

By 2010, Anheuser-Busch wants to be using 4 hectoliters of water per each hectoliter of beer packaged. The company is currently using 5.5 hectoliters, but a drought last year in the Atlanta area might be the key to bringing that figure further down. Anheuser-Busch's brewery in Cartersville, Ga., reduced its water use ratio to 4.3 hectoliters last year, and the company plans to transfer the conservation efforts there to other facilities.

The company's energy use has steady decreased since 2003, and it aims to reduce energy use 1 percent per year and receive 15 percent of its companywide fuel from renewable sources by 2010; by the end of 2007 the company was getting 8 percent of its fuel from renewable sources. Last year the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory helped Anheuser-Busch analyze 58 facilities and identify renewable energy options.

Solid waste production has also gone done, most recently from 35,800 metric tons to 30,500 metric tons between 2006 and 2007. Last year, more than 98 percent of companywide waste was recycled, and more than 99 percent of brewery waste was recycled. Breweries also returned, on average, about 70 percent of the waster they used to local watersheds; some also funnel wastewater to help grow crops.