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SABMiller: Okahandja brewery among five best in terms of water usage

Scheduled to start operating in the middle of the year, SABMiller’s 260,000 hectolitre (hL) will rank amongst the 30 best breweries owned and operated by SABMiller and will be the fifth best brewery in terms of its water usage, making it one of the most technologically efficient brewing plants on the continent.
Said Bogart Butler, Technical Manager at SABMiller, “This is based on the design capability, and once we get to know the interactions of the various elements that make up the plant, we aim to reduce our usage to be the lowest in the SABMiller-rankings for our size of the plant.”
According to Butler, the plant will be run slightly above the the designed water usage of 3,25 hL/hL at 3,30 hL/hL, as defined in the SABMiller usage descriptions. Plans are afoot to reduce water usage in subsequent years as usage is optimised and volumes and brewing capacity increase.
Added Butler, “ In this instance, the 3,25 hL are used to make 1hL of beer, thus 2,25 hL of water is being used in the brewing of this beer. This covers water usage that does not enter the final product but is consumed in activities such as cleaning of vessels, pipelines, bottles and crates, provision of utilities such as steam, refrigeration and purified carbon dioxide (from the fermentation process), and water-packing of pipelines between the pushes of beer from tank to tank.”

“Condensation rates of between 85-90% are envisaged, and irrigation of the site will be using captured rainwater from the site’s hard surfaces as well as any re-usable excess water,” explained Butler. Said Butler, “Older brewery designs require usages of between 3.5 to 4 hL/hL. One of the main design criteria of the brewery before construction started was to employ as many innovative and/or new technologies as reasonably possible to reduce water usage. Some of these are as broad as overall beer-loss reduction in the process of brewing beer, which improves the efficiency of the overall brewing process, thus resulting in improved water-usage numbers, but also in the selection of a high-efficiency packaging line.” The plant is situated in the industrial zone of Okahandja., thus the water will be sourced from the Von Bach Dam, providing local authorities with a revenue boost. SABMiller operates in twelve countries across the continent and also is a bottler of Coca-Cola, but not in Namibia.

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