The World’s Largest Brewer Dumps Millions Of Litres Of Beer Into The River Meuse

AB InBev, the largest brewer in the world, dumped millions of litres of beer into the River Meuse from its brewery in Jupille by Liege, Belgium.

The beer was brewed in November 2020 ago and set up in kegs, which have a sell-by date of six months. The return of lockdown saw restaurants and cafes closing across Europe, leaving the brewery with no option but to dispose of the beer.

The operation takes place according to the regulations on environmental safety, the AB InBev brewery assured. InBev has its own purification plant.

Once it has reached the appropriate environmental standards, the beer is discharged into the Meuse

Brewery manager Steven Van Belleghem.

The kegs concerned have been coming back to the brewery for some time now, as the pubs and cafes who ordered product saw no opportunity to use it anytime soon. In the end, the brewery had no option but to empty the kegs in order to have clean vessels to prepare for the re-opening of restaurants and pubs.

“It was AB InBev’s choice,” said Van Belleghem. “We have two keg lines that have been practically at a standstill for months. It was therefore decided to use one of these lines to empty the kegs.

“We could have had it done by an outside company but, in these times of Covid, it was important for us to do it internally. While we produce less, it allows us to give work to five to ten of our employees and thus avoid having to put them out of work.”

In February 2021, the Brussels Times reported that continuous strikes at the plant forced AB InBev to shift production to US, with the loss of 88 jobs.

The beer brands that got dumped were Jupiler, Stella Artois and Leffe – the three InBev beers most commonly sold on tap.

According to the Belgian Brewers Federation, last year saw 445 million glasses of beer go unsold in bars and restaurants because of lockdown, the majority of them representing keg beer. The Jupiler brewery alone produces 400-500,000 litres of beer a day for the industry.

The Belguim beer operation is not the only AB InBev producer affected by lockdown restrictions. In August 2020, SAB and Heineken halt investment in South Africa due to the country’s complete ban on alcohol. This after the SAB released a statement in May 2020, saying it may have to destroy the equivalent of 400 million bottles of beer due to alcoholic restrictions imposed by the government during the lockdown.