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Published on July 30th, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz

18

Anheuser-Busch Unveils Massive Green Beer Plan



Bud Light

But is it greenwashing?

Anheuser-Busch, the largest brewer in the US, announced today that its breweries will rely on renewable energies for 15 percent of their needs by 2010. The Houston brewery plans to use biogas from a nearby landfill combined with an on-site bio-energy recovery system (BERS) that will make use of brewing wastewater, and the Fairfield, California facility will use solar panels in addition to a BERS. The other US breweries will use only BERS.

When the facilities are completed, 10 out of the 12 Anheuser-Busch breweries in the US will use alternative fuels.

It’s tempting to shake our heads and exclaim that this is just another example of meaningless corporate greenwashing. But that might not be entirely true.

Anheuser-Busch’s plan will produce 1 in 7 beers using alternative energy—that’s over 5 billion 12 oz. servings. Additionally, Anheuser-Busch is the world’s largest operator of BERS. Such cogeneration is extremely important for large breweries to pursue if they want to be at all sustainable. As I mentioned earlier, Anheuser-Busch is the largest US brewer—so they set an example for other large companies.

If other breweries choose to pursue BERS, even if it is just to look good in the public eye, I won’t complain. I don’t know anyone who plans to stop drinking beer in the name of sustainability anytime soon, so Anheuser-Busch’s plan is a step forward.

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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.



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  • http://www.deadlywind.com boomhauer

    Im still awaiting the day the greeners come after beer itself, since all that foam you see on top… is nothing other than pure evil co2.

  • http://www.deadlywind.com boomhauer

    Im still awaiting the day the greeners come after beer itself, since all that foam you see on top… is nothing other than pure evil co2.

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  • sam clark

    Barce,

    Concentrated Solar but then you only can brew in the sunshine, electric burner powered by wind, or a biogas burner using biogas created by waste food or manure. I’m trying to do my best to be conservation minded, my first step is to try to figure out a way to reuse my chiller water. I’m going to put a barrel outside the kitchen window so I can run a tube out and then use the water to water the garden.

  • sam clark

    Barce,

    Concentrated Solar but then you only can brew in the sunshine, electric burner powered by wind, or a biogas burner using biogas created by waste food or manure. I’m trying to do my best to be conservation minded, my first step is to try to figure out a way to reuse my chiller water. I’m going to put a barrel outside the kitchen window so I can run a tube out and then use the water to water the garden.

  • Julie

    I think it’s a little short-sided to say this is just a PR push around the InBev merger. It takes years to put this kind of infrastructure in place. The merger proposal came up, what…a month ago?

  • Julie

    I think it’s a little short-sided to say this is just a PR push around the InBev merger. It takes years to put this kind of infrastructure in place. The merger proposal came up, what…a month ago?

  • http://www.beergoggles.org.uk Paul

    Still wouldn’t make me drink the stuff!

  • http://www.beergoggles.org.uk Paul

    Still wouldn’t make me drink the stuff!

  • http://www.codebelay.com/blog/ Barce

    It makes me wonder about how I should go about being totally solar or water based on how I make beer. Any ideas?

  • http://www.codebelay.com/blog/ Barce

    It makes me wonder about how I should go about being totally solar or water based on how I make beer. Any ideas?

  • Joe Mohr

    I too shall stick with Schlafly. But good news from A-B.

  • Joe Mohr

    I too shall stick with Schlafly. But good news from A-B.

  • http://sustainablog.org/ Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

    As a St. Louisan, I’m always stoked to see this kind of news from A-B (and they have done some very substantive things on the sustainability front in the past few years). There’s definitely a PR element here: their recent acceptance of a takeover bid by Belgian brewing giant ImBev has been non-stop news here, so I’m guessing there’s a desire to shift the story a bit…

    But, of course, I’d still rather praise them then actually drink most of their products… I’ll stick with Schlafly, a smaller local brewer…

  • http://sustainablog.org/ Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

    As a St. Louisan, I’m always stoked to see this kind of news from A-B (and they have done some very substantive things on the sustainability front in the past few years). There’s definitely a PR element here: their recent acceptance of a takeover bid by Belgian brewing giant ImBev has been non-stop news here, so I’m guessing there’s a desire to shift the story a bit…

    But, of course, I’d still rather praise them then actually drink most of their products… I’ll stick with Schlafly, a smaller local brewer…

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