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Anheuser-Busch Inc.
Exploring Water Connections Along the Supply Chain

In 2001, Anheuser-Busch (A-B), the world’s largest brewer of beer, experienced business impacts from unexpected water shortages affecting its supply chain. A temporary drought in the U.S. Pacific Northwest increased the price and reduced the availability of key inputs to Anheuser-Busch’s brewery operations—barley and aluminum. An unusually dry winter, coupled with a turbulent West Coast electricity market that is highly dependent on water for power generation, created intense short-term competition for limited freshwater resources. Reduced allocations of water for irrigation in Idaho resulted in reduced acreages of barley, a key brewery ingredient. At the same time, aluminum production, which relies on large amounts of low-priced energy generated from hydroelectric dams in the region, was drastically reduced as electricity prices skyrocketed. This experience in facing water-related challenges along the supply chain has expanded the business case for taking a more comprehensive, strategic, and sustainable approach to water issues.

Module 1