Water is at the heart of our culture and identity in New Zealand and it plays a crucial role in brewing beer and cider. It fills around 95% of finished beer products and is a key part of our supply chain, from growing raw materials like hops and malt, to cleaning our plant equipment. As one of our company’s most important resources, we know how important it is to protect.

All of our breweries, except for Tui, source their water from reticulated municipal supplies that are rated low water stress. Our breweries can affect surface water quality by generating wastewater that needs to be treated before being returned to the watershed.

Our approach

At a global level, HEINEKEN looks at watershed health holistically through three key areas: water stewardship, efficiency and circularity. It places a strong emphasis on collaboration with NGOs, businesses and government to develop its strategy and implement its plans. Locally, DB is continuing to focus on reducing water consumption in production and improve the quality of wastewater discharged from its breweries and cidery. We also contribute to improved water quality by running planting and beach clean ups around our local waterways.

One of our most significant planned investments is upgrading our wastewater treatment process and infrastructure at DB Draught Brewery in Timaru by 2020. This investment will result in a discharge water quality standard that exceeds the local standard and will represent a material improvement in wastewater quality.

Our key targets and performance

We measure our performance based on the amount of water we consume per hectolitre (100 litres) of beer and cider produced. We also measure the quality of the water we are discharging. In 2018, our water consumption intensity for production was 3.18 hectolitres of water per hectolitre of product produced. The chemical oxygen demand (COD) of our waste water (a measure of water quality) was 1.19 kg COD per hectolitre of waste water, increasing slightly from 2017 as yeast loads increased at our DB Draught Brewery.

Key measures 2020 target 2018 2017 2016 2015
Water consumption (hl/hl) 3.0 3.18 3.2 3.3 3.47
Water discharge (COD kg / hl to surface water) 0.01 1.19 1.131 1.064 0.862

Looking ahead

We will continue to reduce our water consumption in production to 3.0 hl/hl by 2020, invest in water stewardship programmes in our communities, and explore opportunities for water circularity at our sites.

Saving water – drop by drop

Over the past decade, DB has reduced its water consumption in production by 25% against a backdrop of increasing production complexity. Continuous improvement activities across brewing and bottling have played an important role in this achievement. For example, Redwood’s bottling line operator, Aaron Enyon, saved over 180,000 litres a year by seeing an opportunity to recycle bottle rinse water for reuse. Investments in new technology at our sites, such as the brewhouse upgrade at Waitemata in 2011, and a new pasteuriser at Timaru in 2015, have also led to significant water savings. More recently, additional water saving measures have been implemented at Redwood due to summer drought.