US – Anheuser-Busch, a subsidiary of the world’s largest brewing company AB InBev, is investing US$100 million to expand the production capacity of its subsidiary that takes barley after it is used to make beer and repurposes it to be incorporated into food and other beverages.
The funding is part of Anheuser-Busch’s pledge in February to invest more than US$1 billion in its U.S. facilities during the next two years and is anticipated to create 50 jobs.
The maker of Budweiser and Michelob Ultra said it is renovating a building at its brewery in St. Louis that will allow its wholly owned subsidiary EverGrain to transform more of the saved grain on a commercial scale.
At the moment, the company is currently making its upcycled barley products at its $15 million small-scale production facility at Anheuser-Busch’s Newark, New Jersey, brewery.
Once the expansion is complete, Anheuser-Busch plans to continue to utilize the New Jersey facility for small-batch production and testing.
The focus on repurposing barley after it’s used to make beer is the latest step by AB InBev to minimize its impact on the environment and meet its broader sustainability goals.
In the past, it has worked to curtail water use, increased its consumption of renewable energy and entered into a partnership to create more sustainable cans.
It also recently upcycled used barley to create a six-pack cardboard packaging for its popular corona beer brand.
“Protecting the environment in which we operate and from which we source those ingredients is an absolute prerequisite for us to make sure we can continue to brew our beers,” said Ingrid De Ryck, chief procurement, and sustainability officer, at Anheuser-Busch.
“That’s why sustainability is core to everything we do.”
EverGrain is not only cutting down AB InBev’s overall carbon print but also appears to be making business sense.
The company’s barley protein is currently available in products such as Take Two, a plant-based barley milk line, and Nestlé plans to add it to its nutritional food supplement Garden of Life brand later in 2021.
Greg Belt, AB InBev’s former global vice president for sustainability and CEO of EverGrain, said that the company was in discussion with all the major CPGs and small companies and startups too to have them use the upcycled product.
Belt says that the company anticipates massive demand for its upcycled product, making the expansion of production capacity a timely and wise business decision for Anheuser-Busch.
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