Dangers to Ohio water supply could impact beer supply

Dayton’s water deserves some credit for Milwaukee’s Best beer.

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That brand and some of the other most popular suds in America are made from the water flowing beneath the Gem City.

But it’s not just breweries that heavily depend on the underground aquifer.

Huge numbers of jobs in Dayton are tied to the access to clean water.

Without that access, a lack of tasty beer options would be the least of the community’s problems.

MillerCoors, which has a brewing facility outside Trenton in Butler County, is among the largest water users in the Miami Valley region.

The company uses the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer to make Milwaukee’s Best, Miller Lite, Keystone Light, Miller High Life and Miller Genuine Draft.

Beer, regardless of ABV, is mostly water.

And MillerCoors uses about 2 million to 2.5 million gallons of water from the aquifer each day to brew its beer, said Denise Quinn, MillerCoors Trenton Brewery plant manager.

The company said it can produce up to 11 million barrels of beer annually at the Butler County facility, where it employs more than 500 workers.

“The availability of clean, high-quality water is critical to MillerCoors and the Trenton community,” she said.

She said, “The water quality from the brewery’s production wells is monitored 24 hours a day and seven days a week.”

Water quality is vital to Cargill Inc., which was the city of Dayton’s largest water customer in 2016.

The company, located on Needmore Road, processes 50 million bushels of corn annually, most of which comes from farmers near Dayton.

The wet corn mill company uses about 3.5 to 4.0 million gallons of water every day to soak and prepare the corn for processing, make steam to heat its processes, wash and clean its equipment and operation and to cool equipment, said Doug Myers, Cargill Dayton facility manager.

“We rely on having access to clean water to make our food products,” he said.

Tate & Lyle, ranked as Dayton’s no. 2 largest water customer, produces specialty food ingredients and bulk ingredients.

The company needs its water service to be clean, reliable and competitively priced in order for the plant to effectively compete, said Chris Olsen, a company spokesman.

Water is essential to producing high quality citric acid at the Dayton plant, he said.

Citric acid is the most widely used organic acid in foods, beverages, pharmaceuticals and technical applications that can be used to add a sour taste to products, the company said.

Miami Valley Hospital, one of Dayton’s largest employers, is also its third largest water user, which officials says is because it operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with many employees, patients and visitors accessing the site.

The hospital needs water to provide medical services, but it also has extensive food services that need the resource, too, according to officials with Premier Health, which owns and operates the facility.

The hospital needs clean water, and it has comprehensive plans in place to address water contamination or any other disaster-related issues, the organization said.

These are Dayton’s top 10 water users:

1 Cargill Inc.

2 Tate & Lyle

3 Miami Valley Hospital

4 University of Dayton

5 VA Center

6 Good Samaritan Hospital

7 Hohman Plating Co.

8 Greater Dayton Premier Health

9 AGA Gas Inc.

10 Dayton Correctional Facility

Source: City of Dayton, data is for 2016

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