The end of July marks the end of my time in Leuven. I will now return to Galway, Ireland to finish my studies. I spent the last two months compiling data on the water use of AB-Inbev, attempting to discover and explore anomalies within their supply chain. While I am unable to discuss publicly the specifics of my data or findings, I will say that the raw materials involved with brewing at such a large scale are many, and are varied from what one might initially consider necessary as a home-brewer. Beer can be made out of nearly any fermentable starch source, and people have been “brewing” with crops other than barley for some time now. Some of these crops can be quite thirsty in their production phase, and almost all crop utilized vary in water use (both quantity and type) depending upon where and how they are produced. Barley grown in the great plains of Saskatchewan, Canada will have a completely different water footprint compared to the same variety of barley grown in South Africa. Ambient temperature, rainfall, soil type and available nutrients will all affect water use.
The view from my office will be missed!
My return to Galway marks the beginning of my thesis writing in earnest. While my literature review was completed in June, the full compilation of data was not competed until the end of July. I have much analysis to do in the way of portraying and reading the data. Trying to figure out how to organize my results I predict to be the hardest of all, although I have some completed work on which to base my thinking. Overall I’m quite excited to be working on this project. I think it has potential to affect large-scale change within the company, if they decide it is useful information to have. When working in a corporation this large, any decision they make has to consider the bottom line- a way of thinking that is foreign to me in my academic studies.
Heading out on my last day in Leuven, making my half hour walk to the train station. I’ve got a plane to catch!