The craft/ micro-brewering industry gets a lot of attention for the sustainability initiatives that they are putting into their business plans. We seldom hear how mega-breweries are doing their part to reduce their ecological footprint when they are producing on a much larger scale. Should we not be paying attention to how the big players are operating sustainability? Well, we should; so lets take a look into one of America’s largest brewing companies: MillerCoors. The joint venture is the creator behind Colorado’s own Coors Beer and the Miller High Life. MillerCoors is ahead of the game at brewing sustainably on the large scale level. They have met high goals in the fields of water conservation, energy conservation, and waste reduction. Let’s take a look into how MillerCoors operates sustainably.
MillerCoors has taken serious measures to reduce the amount of water they use in brewing their beer. They report that they have saved 1.4 billion gallons of water
between 2008-2014. One way they achieved this is by teaming up with LimnoTech, which is the world’s leading water science consulting firms. Through this partnership, they are coming up with ways and ideas to promote sustainable water use in the brewery. Another approach that they are taking is they have implemented wastewater treatment facilities at several of their breweries. This method allows them to use the processed water for non-production procedures, like cooling, which greatly reduces their dependency on fresh water sources.
MillerCoors has recently started some major projects to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases and decrease their energy dependency. Beginning in October of last year, the company started construction on a 3.2 megawatt panel system being installed at their Irwindale Brewery. By the time it is completed, it will be the largest panel system installed at any United States brewery. With a system like this of such great magnitude, they are able to greatly reduce their need for non-rewneable energy sources. This array will generate enough energy for the brewery to brew over 7 million cases of beer. Solar panel systems are becomi
ng increasingly popular, as I previously stated in my article about Stone Brewing Company’s multi-million dollar solar panel system.
The final way that MillerCoors is promoting sustainability is through their waste reduction efforts. According to Opportunity Green, in 2009, MillerCo
ors was “able to meet their zero-waste goal, and the company was able to reduce its total waste by 20%”. They use all their waste to produce the energy needed to brew. Seven of their 8 breweries now are landfill-free. This is quite an achievement in the field of sustainability. Their brewery in Golden, Colorado uses the waste beer to produce over 1 million gallons of ethanol annually. Ethanol is mixed with fuel to reduce emissions from automobiles.
As a mega-brewery, MillerCoors is a shining example that sustainability can be achieved at the large scale, and that the benefits tremendously outweigh the costs. By implanting sustainability at a larger level, there is going to be a greater positive impact on the environment. Micro breweries can use MillerCoors as an idea of sustainability that is desired by the brewery.