Local upgrades in the amount of $34 million include capital investments made last year through those projected into 2014. General Manager Rob Haas pinpointed three key areas of concentration for investment: modernization, innovation and conservation.
"Three areas that we targeted were, modernization -- our breweries are state of the art, we make a lot of high quality beers, we want to continue to invest in the quality of our products so we modernized control systems and process systems. Then innovation is the second area of focus, both brewing and packaging innovation, we want to keep the market fresh, we have high quality beers and the recipes don't change but people want to see innovation," Haas said. "And the third area that is really near and dear to our hearts in Cartersville is energy conservation, reducing our environmental footprint."
Anheuser-Busch's Cartersville brewery is a leader in conservation efforts. The Georgia site recycles 99.8 percent of waste and 100 percent of water used in the production process outperforming every facility in the international corporation in water usage and reduction.
"We use less water than any brewery in the entire company. That's something we're very proud of," Haas said. "And we're working very hard to reduce fuel and electricity usage. It's a win-win for us, it's a win-win for the environment."
Thursday, Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle visited the brewery to see how the investments will affect operations. During the tour, Cagle was introduced to the brew haus -- "the heart of the brewery" -- where Senior Brewmaster Daniel Kahn explained how investments led to the capture and reuse of heat created during the brewing process.
"One of the things we put in as a capital expenditure is a heat exchanger that recycles the heat created in the process. The old process was, we would boil the brew and we would lose a lot of heat. We put in a vapor condenser, so we send water through that vapor condenser and it absorbs the heat, so it's that much less fuel that we have to use to heat water. We recycle the energy that comes from our brew kettle process," Kahn said.
Highlighting the importance of manufacturers and capital investment, Cagle commended Anheuser-Busch for upgrades increasing conservation as well as actions to improve efficiency and introduce new packaging and brand innovations.
"When private industry like Anheuser-Busch makes a significant corporate capital investment, it leads to job creation and right now, with the economy being where it is, it is critical for corporations like this to be making significant investments," Cagle said. "The other thing I think that is important about today is the significant investment that they have made in terms of sustainability and making their footprint smaller. They're returning and utilizing the resource in a very efficient and effective manner and that shows good corporate stewardship on their part."
With attention turned Thursday to corporate investments, Haas took time to thank those responsible for daily operations.
"We have such a great group of employees, a lot of the Anheuser-Busch family have been here since we started, they understand the process, they understand the quality and the importance," Haas said. "They're highly skilled, they're very motivated and engaged and they're the backbone of what we do -- they are our most important asset."