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Contest aims to reward innovative water conservation ideas at Merrimack Brewery

Union Leader Correspondent

March 21. 2018 8:22PM

Anheuser-Busch has reduced water usage across its national operations by nearly 50 percent in the past 10 years. (COURTESY)

MERRIMACK — Anheuser-Busch is kicking off a contest aimed at encouraging breweries throughout the nation to conserve water and reduce water usage in their brewing operations.

“We have made some dramatic reductions in the amount of water we use in making our product in the last 10 years,” Tom Blake, environmental manager at Merrimack’s Anheuser-Busch plant, said on Wednesday.

Since 2007, the amount of water used at the local brewery has decreased significantly, according to Blake, who compared the water savings to the same amount of water used to fill about 500 Olympic-size swimming pools.

At Merrimack’s Anheuser-Busch brewery, an implementation taskforce meets regularly to identify new opportunities and explore sustainable ways to reduce water usage, he said.

While this may involve technology or money, Blake said representatives typically look at different brewery systems with a critical eye and determine how much water is used in comparison to how much water needs to be used.

Kicking off today — World Water Day — Anheuser-Busch is launching its World Water Day Challenge, which will run until June 5, World Environmental Day.

“This gives teams time to develop, implement and celebrate both days globally,” said Tom Jokerst, general manager at the Merrimack plant. “Environmental stewardship, conservation and bringing water to people in the world who need it — that is all part of our platform.”

Jokerst said the brewery is constantly looking for new ways to conserve water. Next week, the local plant hopes to begin a new process that uses water for cooling. When water is used to cool a separator, it will be collected and used again to cool in another process, he said.

“Obviously our product water is very critical and goes through its own treatment process,” he said.

Still, according to Jokerst there are some basic ways to reduce water usage such as using hoses with less water flow.

The global contest will seek to reward new innovations and new initiatives to help conserve water in breweries. The winner will be selected by a panel, and will receive the finances to pursue their vision, as well as Super Bowl tickets.

“Being a vital part of our production of water stewardship program is really the heart of the matter,” Blake said.

Last year’s contest created new ideas that conserved roughly used in nearly 25 million toilet flushes, he said.

Water is essential to all of the great-tasting beers brewed in Merrimack, according to Katia Zastrow, vice-president of Anheuser-Busch’s Better World program.

“That is why across our business, we’re passionate about searching for innovative new ways to conserve water, as part of our efforts to build a better world,” Zastrow said in a statement. “It’s really exciting to have our super-talented colleagues in the local Merrimack community going head-to-head with our top brewers from around the world to take our water savings innovations to the next level.”

Anheuser-Busch has reduced its water use across the nation by nearly 50 percent in the past decade, according to a release. And, since 2010, nearly 10,000 brewery employees, friends and community members have participated in more than 130 watershed protection cleanups and activities.

Business Environment Merrimack

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