How Much Water Does it Take to Make Beer?

Bellurget Jean Louis | Stock Image | Getty Images

At MillerCoors, water is everything. From brewing to pasteurizing to shipping, water is the fuel that runs the factories.

“It's the main ingredient in our beer. It helps clean our brew kettles. It helps water our crops," says Kim Marotta, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for the company.

“Without that water, I don't want to even think about what would happen.”

With water in crisis across the globe, from shortages to pollution, MillerCoors is evaluating the way the company uses it.

Liquid Assets - The Big Business of Water
Liquid Assets - The Big Business of Water

The company has determined where it can reduce water usage without harming its products, starting with wheat and barley farmers.

“We know that over 70 percent of our water within our value chain or our footprint is used with our farmers. So we work directly with our farmers and put in water conservation measures,” Marotta says.

But beyond conservation on farms, MillerCoors is also looking to recycle water used within the beer pasteurization process, and is moving away from wet lubricants used on conveyor belts.

MillerCoors is ahead of the global average of five barrels of water to produce one barrel of beer by nearly one barrel, and hopes to continue on that path. "We have a 2015 goal to across our breweries be at 3.5." Marotta told CNBC.

“Our Fort Worth brewery is actually leading the way and has already exceeded that target at 3.4 barrels of water to produce one barrel of beer.”

MillerCoors is a joint venture of SABMiller and Molson Coors . The company was formed in 2008. SABMiller owns 58 percent.

See more about the global water crisis and what businesses are doing about it in a CNBC Original Production, “Liquid Assets: The Big Business of Water,” Thursday September 30 at 9pm ET.