Anheuser-Busch Houston Brewery
Water Conservation Top Priority for Houston Brewery
For the past 15 years, the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Houston has decreased its water use by more than 30 percent—a drop not due to the economy or decreased production, but due to a company-wide dedication to water conservation. Water consumption is a fact of life for any large brewery, but Anheuser-Busch’s team of engineers, environmental managers, and employees have integrated technologies and innovative practices to streamline water use, saving 577 million gallons of water in 2011 alone.
Anheuser-Busch (A-B) uses technology in almost every detail of the brewing process. First, A-B Houston Brewery filters the incoming water and monitors the resulting quality. Then, during the regeneration of the carbon filters, the backwash is collected and rerouted for use in cooling operations. Reclamation of water during this process and from carbon dioxide scrubbers saves nearly 19 million gallons every year. While brewing and fermenting, dual-range probes monitor conductivity during rinses in boiler and fermentation tanks—a process carefully monitored so that the tanks are never over-rinsed. Additionally, the water recovered during bottling and packaging—made possible by upgrading pasteurizers and bottling machinery—has led to more than 70 million gallons of water saved by redirecting the reclaimed water for cooling operations in other areas of the facility.
The Houston brewery has established practices to effectively use many of the unavoidable byproducts generated throughout its beverage production. By capturing pre-rinse water for use during a later cycle, the operation decreases the amount of high-quality water that would otherwise be combined with other wastewater. Also, by capturing and condensing steam generated during brewing, the facility can redirect that water to the powerhouse where it is used to create steam, reducing not only water demands but saving energy as well.
A-B Houston Brewery also encourages its employees to get involved in the company’s water conservation efforts by submitting ideas to save time, water, electricity, and other resources. For those ideas that are put into practice, employees are rewarded with a cash bonus.
Anheuser-Busch uses creative employee ideas along with high-quality equipment and processes to help reduce how much water it uses every day.