Drought Watch: Hey Bud, This Water's for You!

If you've ever traveled around the 405 and Roscoe you, no doubt, have seen the big - actually humongous - Budweiser plant. Anheuser-Busch refers to it as its LA Brewery. Like every one of us they've been told to cut back on water and they have.

You may not know this, but 92% of every Budweiser is made of water. And, if you're curious, it takes a little over 3 bottles of water to make one bottle of beer. That's an improvement from 2009 when it took 4 bottles of water. In fact, the plant's Sr. General Manager Luis Cayo says they've cut water use by 32% plant-wide in the last couple of years .

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For starters, Two years ago they dumped the landscaping with the help of rebates from MWD and DWP. "Basically we replaced all our grass with artificial turf," he says. And, "We did some hardscaping. We did drought resistant plants." That, says Cayo, created a 5-million gallons savings each year. But, what about the beer?

"You need water to make beer," says Cayo who has been in the business a very long time. He's even been a brewmaster. To achieve cuts, they metered every aspect of the sprawling plant measuring how much water they really needed to make the product. They even started a campaign to give employee cash prizes for coming up with inventive ways to save water.

Cayo is proud to say that they've met the Governor's mandated cuts without affecting the beer. They've done that, he says, by optimizing water use at every point of operation in the plant.

"We only use the exact amount we need to get the vessel cleaned so it can accept the high-quality product." Cleaning is where they make the biggest impact. They can't tamper with the taste or the secret recipe.

And now they're getting 20 million dollars from Anheuser-Busch to build a waste water treatment plant to recycle water for industrial use only. Don't expect recycled water in your beer as Cayo and Company try to cut another 15%.

At the end of our interview I said to Luis Cayo "This water is for you!" He replied, "This Bud's for you."

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