In a move to reduce emissions and fuel costs for transportation of beer, Anheuser-Busch has announced plans to replace all 66 heavy duty diesel trucks at its Houston brewery with natural gas trucks.
This was no obvious business move. The trucks in its existing fleet are not old or falling apart. Like the Clydesdale horses of yesteryear, these are tough, reliable diesel-powered workhorses that pull 53-foot trailers loaded with 50,000 pounds of beer. Yet A-B is putting all these diesel workhorses out to pasture — and replacing them with 66 new trucks, that instead run on compressed natural gas.
It’s significant that A-B feels comfortable swapping for an entire fleet that runs on CNG. The intention of shifting to natgas, says James Sembrot, A-B’s senior transportation director, is to reduce carbon emissions and fuel costs, while doing something green(ish). The Houston brewery is among the biggest of the 14 that A-B operates nationwide. The closest breweries to this one are in Fort Collins, Colo. and St. Louis. Each truck rolls virtually around the clock — putting in an average of 140,000 miles in a single year hauling beer to wholesalers.
They move seventeen million barrels of beer each year. In other words: if Texans want to put Bud Light in their mouths (and hell yeah they do) then these trucks gotta haul. For the past six months Anheuser-Busch InBev has been testing two CNG trucks within the fleet. “We’ve been running the tar out of them, with no issues at all. We’re thrilled,” says Billy Lawder, director of transportation engineering at A-B.