This Brewery In Costa Rica Adds More Water To The Environment Than It Consumes

Many gallons of water are required to create just a pint of beer. One brewery in Costa Rica has found a way to not only neutralize their footprint, but actually add to the environment. They've been certified as water-positive after investing in conservation groups.


May 22 2019, Updated 5:25 p.m. ET

Every refreshing beer takes an incredible amount of water to create, and it’s a problem that some major breweries are taking steps to decrease. Some have even gone the route of creating “water-positive” beer, which is the process of adding more water to the environment than it takes out. The first example of this is in Costa Rica where Imperial lager beer is brewed, and luckily for us, it’s now coming to the United States.

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Anywhere from 8 to 24 gallons of water are used in the process of making a 16-ounce beer. That involves the farming needed for the ingredients, cleaning of the manufacturing process, and beer itself, which is made up of 90 percent water. Considering the amount of water needed to create each beverage, it would seem pretty difficult to end up being “water-positive.”

Florida Ice and Farm Company -- which despite the name is based in Heredia, Costa Rica -- was able to accomplish that feat with the brewing process of Imperial. They were officially certified back in March. Gisela Sanchez, the Director of Corporate Relations for the beverage company, told The Costa Rica Star that Imperial was able to significantly reduce their water consumption with technological upgrades and increased conservation.

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“Imperial has managed to reduce in over 44% the consumption of water in its manufacturing process, with the help of investments in high technology equipment, and the establishment of good environmental practices regarding the adequate use of this vital liquid.”
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By monitoring what they used and slashing consumption down, they were able to add this water supply to Costa Rica’s metro area. Imperial took it even further by pushing toward water-positive goals. With an uptick of beer production by 70 percent, they were able to expand into Colorado. It’ll be the first location in the United States to sell the Imperial lager. 

As they accomplish that, the company has invested in Colorado Water Trust to recycle more water in the state. Imperial representative Victor Rutstein told CBS Denver that the company has “invested...62.8 million gallons of water to increase the flow of the Yampa River [in Colorado].” He added that by doing so, it gets the company “to a place where we give back more water to the environment than we use.”

Essentially, every Imperial lager beer that’s consumed is helping the environment. It’s not just the brewing process, but the investments that Imperial and its parent company, Florida Ice and Farm, have made to decrease their water footprint. The latter is pursuing a goal that all of their beer, soft drink, and canned good products remove the footprint they leave on the environment by 2020.

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