Guidelines for efficient water use in the brewery and bottled beverage industries

Sustainability Session
Steve Froggett, Froggett & Associates, LLC
Co-author(s): Joseph Cotruvo, Joe Cotruvo & Associates, LLC, USA; Richard Canady, Risk Science Innovation and Application Center of Excellence, International Life Sciences Institute – Research Foundation, USA

ABSTRACT: Water is a critical resource and raw material for breweries in particular and the beverage industry in general, as both rely on water for production and facility maintenance. This recognition has led many companies to launch water stewardship initiatives in an effort to drive conservation and efficient use of water at their facilities. Individual breweries globally have undertaken the complex task of reducing their water footprint by increasing water reuse for non-potable uses. For example, published case studies from Australia show significant reductions in water use through efficient and safe reuse at their facilities. In one brewery, recycled water is used for first rinse cleaning of storage vessels, boiler feed, and cooling tower makeup, while at another brewery water is reused to irrigate an adjacent golf course. Overall water costs were reduced in both cases. Both cases illustrate the potential for sustainable use and reuse of water within breweries, reduction of the facility’s water footprint, and the challenges faced when developing a reuse system. Pragmatic guidelines outlining management and engineering needs to enable the safe and efficient reuse of water in bottling facilities is lacking. To address this need, the Research Foundation of the International Life Science Institute has convened an expert panel to draft guidelines that will outline the key considerations a plant must make when deciding if reuse is possible and beneficial at their plant. The guidelines will then present a detailed “how-to” enabling facility managers and engineers to plan a safe reuse system based on a hazard analysis and critical control points management approach. In addition, the guidelines will address monitoring, evaluation, and the training necessary to maintain the daily operation of the reuse system within established safety parameters. The use of these guidelines is intended to enable brewers and bottlers to significantly reduce water consumption and wastewater discharge in a cost-effective manner, but to do so in ways that reliably produce safe water of assured quality that is appropriate for the intended use in various processes and product production. For this to occur, the guidelines must be internationally acceptable to producers, regulators, and consumers concerned with product integrity and protection of the environment. The guidelines committee is an international expert group with a wide range of experience, and the guidelines will be reviewed by a broad spectrum of stakeholders interested in the safe reuse of water, including perspectives on the perceptual or acceptability aspects of reusing water, prior to completion.

Steve Froggett received a Ph.D. degree in neuroscience and behavior from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 2002 and has served as a visiting scientist and faculty at the University of Kathmandu Medical School, Nairobi College of Health Science, and Patan Academy of Health Sciences. Subsequently, Steve served as a diplomacy fellow and as a scientific advisor in the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, advising on a broad range of issues related to new and emerging technologies for food production and sustainability. Since 2010, Steve has consulted for the Research Foundation of the International Life Sciences Institute and manages the efficient and safe water reuse guideline development project.