EHL Alliance founding member, AB InBev is brewer of some of the world’s best beers, like Stella Artois, Corona, and the American brand, Budweiser. Among many others, their brands also include Leffe, Löwenbräu, and Bud Light. We took a look at what one of the most influential brewers in the world is doing to keep up with today’s trends, and how they are able to stay ahead of the game and remain relevant in such changing times.
Ultimately, AB InBev’s success can largely be traced back to the importance they place on innovation and sustainability. Many people may not jump to the brewing industry when they think of hospitality, but the beer industry is a key component in many hospitality businesses.
The importance of innovation
AB InBev’s Global Innovation and Technology Centre (GITEC) in Leuven, Belgium, was set up to give their company the innovative edge over the competition when brewing, selling and marketing their beers.
Innovations include the practice of printing labels directly on the bottles (also known as bottle tattooing), Perfect Draft, a technology which helps smaller venues store and pour draft beer without large kegs, and a revolutionary technology that helps to keep the flavour whilst completely neutralizing the alcohol in the brew, developed in the GITEC no-alcohol and low-alcoholic laboratory.
Sustainability in the business
In support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), AB InBev aims to build resilient supply chains, productive communities and a healthier environment. Particular focus is placed on smart agriculture, water stewardship, circular packaging, and climate action. By 2025, 100% of their product will be in packaging that is returnable or made from majority recycled content. All of their communities in high-stress areas will have measurably improved water availability and quality, and their direct farmers will be skilled, connected, and financially empowered. Additionally, 100% of their purchased electricity will be from renewable sources, resulting in a 25% reduction in CO2 emissions across their value chain.
One could say that ABI, with the vast influence and global reach that they have, lead by example. Companies, whether in the hospitality sector or not, should strive to have measurable, attainable, and specific goals they would like to implement to help combat climate change and work towards a more sustainable future.
Trends in the industry
We spoke to Alain Pernet, On Trade Manager in Switzerland, who mentioned that AB InBev is aware of the latest trends of responsible drinking in the industry.
One important way to help reduce harmful drinking is by providing consumers with low-alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer options. As a result, one of AB InBev’s Global Smart Drinking Goals is to ensure that low-alcoholic or non-alcoholic beer products make up at least 20% of their global beer volume by 2025.
Ever wonder why the non-alcoholic beer tastes just like the one you love? AB InBev’s team of experts from the GITEC non-alcoholic and low-alcoholic laboratory in Leuven came up with a revolutionary technology that helps to keep the flavour whilst offsetting the alcohol content.
Sustainable development and giving back
AB InBev is not only the world largest and most successful brewing parent company but also an organization which maintains competitive advantage with their innovative and sustainable development practices; whether it is investing in R&D to lead through innovation while ensuring quality products and high brand standards or while being one of the leading beverage companies to ensure focus on the Sustainable Development Goals and give back not only to the communities around their operations, but worldwide through the reach of their diverse beer brands. AB InBev is ensuring the holistic sustainability of their brewing business. The world of hospitality certainly has a great deal to take away from the extremely successful brewing sector of the vast and significant beverage industry.