Blog Entries Tagged as water

Worry over water

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Category: General Blogs  |  Tags: water

As California craft beer makers convened for their annual convention in Mission Valley last month, they tipped a glass or two to the frenetic growth of their industry—3.4 million barrels produced, contributing $6.5 billion to the local economy in 2014, the California Craft Brewers Association reported. 

Then talk turned to water. Not the quality of the water, but rather the lack thereof. California craft brewers sit at the epicenter of a historic drought that is deepening past four years now. As one report put it, the good news is that despite the drought no brewery has been forced to cut back on production.

But the bad news can be right around the corner, the San Diego Times Union reported: “Do I believe that is going to happen? Absolutely,” said John Stier, a water management consultant with the Antea Group. “It’s just a matter of time.”

MillerCoors operates a brewery in the San Gabriel Valley. It’s operated there for 50 years, 35 years at the current location. Operations people there have seen droughts before, but none like the current one. MillerCoors produces about 6 million barrels of beer from that brewery, and so an historic drought carries its share of risk.

The thing is, MillerCoors has long considered how it uses water and how much it uses. MillerCoors water-to-beer ratio is among the best in the business: the company uses 3.36 barrels of water to make one barrel of beer, reported Jonah Smith, MillerCoors’ sustainability policy and reporting manager, at Beverage World’s BevOps conference in Las Vegas last month. The industry average is about 6 to 8 barrels of water per one barrel of beer.

Water usage amongst craft brewers may be much higher than the industry average. Antea’s Stier said at the California craft brewer meeting that amongst smaller brewers the median operation requires 26.2 barrels of water to make one barrel of beer.

The irony, as MillerCoors’ Smith pointed out at BevOps [page 54], is that because craft brewers are “local” the perception is they’re more environmentally friendly than the big brewers.

But the worries over water amongst beverage makers big and small go way beyond perception, as Managing Editor Andrew Kaplan uncovered for this month’s cover story [page 32]. In California alone, Governor Jerry Brown on April 1 directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reductions by 25 percent, the first time such an action was taken in the state’s history.

How will the directive affect beverage operations in the state? It’s too soon to tell since local governments and water boards are determining how they will enact the mandate.

The bigger beverage companies like MillerCoors may be well-positioned to manage the worst of what may be to come. As for the smaller producers, Stier advises companies to seek out secondary sources in case primary sources run dry; to take steps to limit water use through better production practices and equipment; and to recycle or reuse wastewater.

One other thing, he offered: “Get used to more expensive water. Cheap water may be going away.”  

Bottled water as lifeline

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Category: General Blogs  |  Tags: water

Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Flint, Mich., one day late last month to pick up cases of donated bottled water. It didn’t take long for 2,000 cases to be whisked away. 
Flint’s water has been an issue since last year when the city started using the Flint River as its source of drinking water. The city, arguably the state’s most economically beleaguered, made the shift so that it wouldn’t have to buy treated Lake Huron water from the city of Detroit. Residents were told that the shift would be temporary, until a new pipeline to another source would come online sometime in 2016.
But last month the city notified customers that is was in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act because of high levels of triholomethane, a byproduct of chlorine used to sanitize the water. City and state agencies told residents that the water was safe to drink, but by that time residents began to complain about the appearance, smell and taste of the city water.
On the same day as the water giveaway, the Kroger Co. said it would send truckloads of bottled water to Flint-area stores and that it would lower the price of cases of its store-brand water by $1.00 to $1.99 in response to Flint’s water problems, reported. The price will remain in effect through the end of February, the company pledged.
Kroger spokesperson Ken McClure said in a news release: “Access to clean, healthy drinking water is a fundamental human right. As Americans, I believe we typically perceive the issue of access to fresh water as an issue abroad. Here is an example right in the middle of Michigan, within Kroger’s operating area. It is our obligation to help.”
At the same time last month, residents in Winnipeg, Canada, were under a cautionary boil-water advisory for two days after the city found coliform bacteria in water supply samples. The advisory prompted one man to take to the streets and hand out bottled water with a message wrapped around. The message reminded Winnipeg residents that the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation has been living under a boil-water advisory for 17 years. Winnipeg gets its water from Shoal Lake.
Flint and Winnipeg were not alone last month. There was news of water advisories in effect in other communities, and retailers in towns and cities up and down New England were having trouble keeping bottled water supplies in stock after a huge winter storm knocked out power to rural residents, which meant they couldn’t pump well water.
I could go on with this list of instances where access to fresh, reliable drinking water is being denied here in our developed world, sometimes temporarily (this couldn’t be more relative than when you find yourself without fresh water). The bottled water industry has taken its share of dings from activists, some of whom question its fundamental existence. They should ask residents of Flint, Winnipeg, Maine and and a bunch of other communities where bottled water has been a lifeline, even temporarily.
Bottled water producers should never lose sight of their responsibilities as environmental stewards. But especially during times like these bottled water producers are part of the solution, not the problem.  Bw

Let the Games Begin: BevStar 2013 Call for Entries

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Category: General Blogs  |  Tags: water

With the dawn of a new year comes a new chance for your brand to shine. Whether you're playing in the alcohol or non-alcohol space (or both even), you are cordially invited to submit your product to our third-annual BevStar Awards competition. It's our annual celebration of innovation across all of the major beverage categories. And the best part? It's absolutely free to enter, aside from whatever shipping costs you need to incur to get a sample of your product to our judging team.

Since this is about innovation, we ask that your product be new(ish). That means it should have been launched no earlier than Sept. 2011. If it hasn't been launched yet, that's fine. As long as you've got a product, a package and a plan to roll it out before summer 2013, it's eligible. (The product has to exist. Ideation is great, but execution is critical.)

Once again, we'll be awarding gold, silver and bronze awards in the following categories:

• Carbonated Soft Drinks

• Water/Enhanced Water

• Functional Beverages (including sports drinks, but not including energy drinks—those get their own category. We got a ton of energy entries last year.)

• Energy Drinks

• Beer

• Mead, Cider and Sake

• Wine

• Spirits

• Ready-to-Drink Tea & Coffee

We'll also present special achievement awards for marketing innovation, social media initiatives and environmental sustainability.

To enter, please e-mail the following to :

1. Product Name

2. Parent Company Name

3. Contact Info (address, phone & e-mail)

4. High-resolution product image

5. A brief description of the product and why you believe it should win a BevStar award.

6. The names of any packaging, label design, ingredient and branding companies or individuals that helped develop or market your product.

If your product passes the written test, we'll send you instructions on where to ship product samples for the practical test. We ask that you limit the samples to one bottle/can/carton/etc. per product entered.

Keep in mind, tasting is only one component of our selection process. Your product has to offer the whole package, which includes, well, the package and its overall market positioning.

The submission deadline is March 1. Winners will be notified by June 1 and we'll showcase winning products in the July 2013 issue of Beverage World.

If you've got any questions you can e-mail me directly.

We're looking forward to your entries!





Sandy’s Big Miss

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Category: General Blogs  |  Tags: water

Unless you’ve been hibernating under your favorite rock, you’ll know the New York/New Jersey area—where our entire edit and art team resides—was hit pretty hard by Hurricane Sandy. I count myself among the extremely lucky. While many in my immediate neighborhood experienced catastrophic flooding and lost power for nearly two weeks, my home suffered little more than a 36-hour blackout (I was stranded in Chicago, as all New York-area airports were closed, so I ended up missing the whole thing). I was struck by the image of relief volunteers all over town lending a helping hand to those who needed it most. But you want to know what was almost as striking? The pallet loads of bottled water being distributed to those without potable running water. My parents and grandmother, who live about an hour away from me near the Jersey Shore, informed me they were living on—not to mention bathing in—bottled water for a good 11 or 12 days after the media-dubbed “Superstorm.”  

Why do I bring this up? Think about it. If the anti-bottled-water movement got its ultimate wish, the relief effort would be much more challenging, if not virtually impossible. The Red Cross and local volunteers may not have been able to do much for the power and heat situation, but they had the tools to tackle the water issue pretty quickly, with millions of bottles at the ready from the industry’s top producers. Now imagine a world without bottled water and the impact it would have on the victims of the storm. I’d rather not think about.

Look, I know what some people are thinking. Here’s a shameless PR statement from just another shill for the industry. But guess what. I’m a passionate environmentalist. The fact that we had such a storm is directly related to climate change, which many, for the sake of blind ideological purity, continue to deny. In my mind climate change, global warming, whatever you want to call it, is an undisputable fact. When you try to challenge science with spin, science will always win.

But my argument for bottled water has been one of convenience and, as Sandy has proved, sometimes of necessity. I have a Brita filter at home. I love my Brita filter. But when I’m not home I really don’t want to carry a thermos—the contents of which would be depleted pretty quickly, leaving me to find an acceptable water source with which to refill it. Anyone who’s ever used an airport water fountain or public restroom sink knows that’s not an easy thing to do. That’s when I’m buying bottled water. A lot of it.

I strongly believe that we need to reduce the amount of petroleum-based material in our bottles. I long for the day—hopefully just a few years down the road—when plant-based packaging becomes a mainstream, commercially viable option. But in the interim, bottled water companies have been among the first to innovate with lightweighting. More can be done, but it should tide us all over until bio-alternatives are the norm.

So when a storm, earthquake, mudslide, tornado or any natural or man-made disaster strikes, those advocating against bottled water must ask themselves this: What good is your Brita, now?

BevStar Awards 2012: We Finally Have Our Winners!

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Category: General Blogs  |  Tags: water

After a lengthy judging process involving a record number of entries this year and a self-imposed media blackout until the official winners' issue started arriving this week, we are very pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 Beverage World BevStar Awards. For those just joining us, the BevStars recognize new product innovation across all of the major beverage categories.

We received a particularly robust shower of entries in the Energy & Functional category—so many that we decided to split it into two separate categories this year. It really reflects the level of innovation in those segments. If you recall from our 2012 State of the Industry report, energy drink volume returned to double-digit growth last year, with an increase of more than 17 percent in 2011, according to Beverage Marketing Corporation.

Without further ado, here's the list of this year's winners. For details on all of these brands, read the July 2012 issue of Beverage World. Congratulations to all!

Ruthless Rye IPA, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Gold: Ruthless Rye IPA, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Silver: Deviant Dale's IPA, Oskar Blues Brewing Co.
Bronze: Bronx Pale Ale, The Bronx Brewery

Gold: MyCause Water, Panacea Beverage Co.
Silver: Elevate Enhanced Fiber Water, 912 Corp.
Bronze: Karma Wellness Water, Karma Kulture LLC

Gold: Spindrift, Spindrift Soda co.
Silver: Dr Pepper Ten, Dr Pepper Snapple Group
Bronze: HotLips Cranberry Soda, HotLips Soda Co.

Gold: Monster Rehab, Monster Beverage Co.
Silver: Slap Frozen Energy, Brain-Twist
Bronze: Berry Rain, RevHoney

Gold: Neuro Sun, Neuro Beverage
Silver: Ralph & Charlie's Aloe, Ralph & Charlie's Beverage Co.
Bronze: Modjo Hydrate Elite, Cellutions

Gold: Honest (Not Too) Sweet Tea, Honest Tea
Silver: RealBeanz, RealBeanz LLC
Bronze: Tao of Tea, The Tao of Tea

Gold: Purgatory Vodka, Alaska Distillery
Silver: Apple Pie Moonshine, Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery
Bronze: BuzzBallz, BuzzBallz LLC

Gold: FlasqWines, JT Wines
Silver: Blanc de Bleu, Premium Vintage Cellars
Bronze: Xavier Flouret La Pilar Malbec, Cognac One LLC

For those brands that entered but didn't take a gold, silver or bronze in any of the categories, don't fret. Competition was particularly stiff this year and the decisions were all very difficult for all of us on the judging panel. And there's always next year. We'll be announcing a call for entries some time in December.