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Europe's brewers publish environmental report

28 May 2012

The Art and Science of Brewing

There is no doubt that brewing is a true skill. Taking five natural ingredients, brewers meticulously craft beers with varying degrees of bitterness, sweetness, colour, carbonation and strength; the results of which we see in the wonderful variety of beers we buy in shops and bars.

However, working behind the scenes is another set of skilful individuals, the engineers and technicians who support the brewers in their craft. These individuals ensure not only that the right resources are available when and where the brewers need them, but also that these resources are managed as efficiently and effectively as possible. This efficiency not only has important cost implications but also has a direct impact on the sustainability of the brewing industry.

The Brewers of Europe has just published its first ever report on ‘The Environmental Performance of the European Brewing Sector', providing a useful illustration of the on-going efforts of the industry to improve their collective environmental footprint. The report shows that over the three year review period, for every pint of beer consumed, brewers used less water (4.5%) and energy (3.8%), and fewer CO2 emissions were emitted to the atmosphere (7.1%). While these figures may not appear to be impressive at first glance, the savings on water alone represent some 8 billion litres of water.

Our own breweries in the Czech Republic are making great strides in improving their water efficiency with the Velke Popovice performing particularly well, using only 3.64 litres of water to make one litre of beer in 2010.

The report also highlights the increasing extent to which waste streams and secondary products are routinely being treated and re-used. Examples include the increased (7%) utilisation of biogas from waste water treatment to substitute traditional fossil fuels- reducing carbon emissions - and reusing of spent grains for animal feed. Our Dreher brewery in Hungary has been using absorption cooling techniques to harness and use surplus heat recovered from the boiling process, saving an estimated 260 Tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

You'll be able to see how much we've improved resource efficiency and reduced waste in June, when we'll be publishing the latest country-level details of our performance against our ten sustainable development priorities here.

Resources such as water and energy are shared resources; and issues like resource scarcity and climate change are shared risks. Initiatives such as the Brewers of Europe allow for best practice sharing, innovation and hard work, enabling all brewers to build upon the great steps which have already been made.

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