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Bitburger Brewery – Brewing the future

Beer is probably one of the most beloved beverages that is enjoyed almost everywhere in the world. Germany is especially famous for its long tradition of breweries. Bitburger takes this tradition to a new level by thinking about the future.   

Hops, water, barley and yeast: These are the four ingredients that make beer according to the German “Reinheitsgebot”, the purity law. For more than 500 years, breweries in the country abide by this rule and use only these raw materials for the brewing process. With regards to climate change though, it becomes more and more important to responsibly use those natural resources, and the Bitburger is the one of leaders in sustainable beer brewing. 

Founded in 1817, Bitburger quickly became one of the biggest family owned/ brewing companies in Germany. Today, the Bitburger Braugruppe encompasses four well known and popular beer brands: Bitburger, König Pilsener, Köstritzer and Licher. Besides its delicious beverages and long tradition as a family company, it is Bitburger’s sustainability strategy in brewing, processing and logistics that makes it outstanding.

It is  imperative for the brewery to work together closely with hops farmers and ensure a sustainable handling of their most valued resources. The farmers who partnered up with Bitburger have an eye on the soil quality, not just for the plants themselves, but for the natural circulation. In an intricate process of treating the hops during winter and summer, the soil will be kept in an untreated state, so worms and other soil creatures can settle there and keep the ground healthy on a natural way. With this procedure healthy crops and sustainable growth can be guaranteed. 

Bitburger is also a leader in sustainability beyond the growth of hops, barley and yeast and tries to keep the impact on the environment as low as possible. In its brewery in Bitburg, the company uses sustainable systems to reduce its carbon footprint. Against this background, Bitburger relies on a resource-saving production method so that primary energy carriers with lower emission factors are used. The biogas obtained from wastewater treatment is used again to generate electricity and steam. Bitburger uses various cascade systems to return energy to existing processes, so that large amounts of energy can be obtained from condensate in the brewhouse process. By using a state-of-the-art combined heat and power unit with an energy efficiency of over 90 percent and the use of photovoltaic systems, Bitburger can generate between 60 and 70% of the electricity it needs. The additional energy required is purchased as certified green electricity, so in the last 12 years the CO2 emissions caused by primary energy sources have been reduced by 62%. This makes Bitburger a real market leader for sustainable energy within the brewing industry.  In addition, high-quality training, including on sustainability issues, is of great importance for Bitburger.

Despite this fact, there are process-related unavoidable CO2 emissions that cannot be reduced. Against this background, Bitburger is working with the “Plant for the Planet” initiative and is reforesting trees on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

The efforts that Bitburger takes are widely regarded, not only in its industry but also outside. The brewery is member of the ZNU Network. The Network encourages/drives the implementation of sustainability strategies in different companies of different branches of industry. Bitburger is certified since 2013 with the ZNU Standard for Driving sustainable change. The effectiveness of the certification with regards to all processes and efforts are reviewed annually to ensure its goals in sustainability and carbon compensation are met. In this way Bitburger is not only providing the world with delicious beers but is also thinking about the world of tomorrow.





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