Case Study: Adnams Brewery

It takes 8 pints of water on average to make one pint of beer. That's just one reason why brewing is an carbon-intensive process. But the mid-sized Suffolk brewery Adnams is trying to make its own operations less energy guzzling in the next year. Along with nearly 2,000 other businesses and over 50,000 individuals it has joined the 10:10 climate change campaign, which involves people and organisations pledging to cut their carbon emissions by 10% every year.

Adnams has already made headway. The water footprint of its beer is now down to 3.2 pints and it has made efforts to cut its carbon emissions, with innovations such as a warehouse that stores beer at an optimum temperature of about 11C without the need for heating or refrigeration and energy efficient equipment that recycles 90% of the heat used in the beer-making process. Adnams has reduced the energy used to produce each barrel of beer from 51.4kWh in 2007 to 46.3kWh in 2008. Total carbon emissions for the business in 2008 were 4,000 tonnes.

The company expects increases in energy prices and "polluter-pays" policies, which is driving it to "green" the business and its products – such as its carbon-neutral East Green beer.

It is planning an "industrial ecology" project which will use waste products from the brewing process, such as spent grain, to produce methane that could in turn produce electricity. From next year the brewer will also work with MBA students at the University of East Anglia, who will help monitor its emissions so that the company can report carbon emissions alongside its financial results.

"We are proud of our carbon reduction effort throughout the past few years at Adnams," says the managing director, Andy Wood. "But we are certainly not resting on our laurels."

Key target area for reductions in 2010

Adnams says it has some work to do in its hotels and Cellar & Kitchen stores. The next big challenge will then be to improve the energy efficiency of its pubs.

Area of most concern

Water is a key area. It takes 3.2 pints of water to make every pint of Adnams beer – this is better than the industry average of 8, but the company plans to reduce it further.