Visit to United Breweries Limited, Goa

About the company: United Breweries Holdings Limited (UBHL) or UB Group is an Indian conglomerate company headquartered in UB City, Bangalore in the state of Karnataka, India.   The company markets beer under the Kingfisher brand and owns various other brands of alcoholic beverages. United Breweries is India’s largest producer of beer.

The purpose of the visit was to understand various waste streams coming out of brewery industry.

We have identified 4 main waste streams from our visit:

  1. Spent Grains
  2. Yeast
  3. Waste Water
  4. Glass Bottles
  5. Broken Glasses


Spent Grains are a rich source of protein and is sent to farms and piggeries for food for animals. Around 25-30 tonnes of spent grain is produced per day. Another organic waste that is generated is yeast which is cultured by UB in their unit and is used 6 times before it is sent to landfills.  Approximately 1 tonne per month of yeast waste is generated.


The wastewater from the units is sent to the effluent treatment plant. UB uses reed bed technology and karnal technology.

Reed beds are aquatic plant-based systems which allow bacteria, fungi and algae to digest the sewage and clean the water [1].

The Karnal Technology involves growing tree on ridges 1m wide and 50cm high wand disposing of the untreated sewage in furrows.  The amount of the sewage/ effluents to be disposed off depends on the age, type of plants, climatic conditions, soil texture and quality of effluents.  The total discharge of effluent is so regulated that it is consumed within 12-18 hours and there is no standing water left in the trenches.  Through this technique, it is possible to dispose off 0.3 to 1.0 ML of effluent per day per hectare. This technique utilizes the entire biomass as a living filter for supplying nutrients to soil and plant; irrigation renovates the effluent for atmospheric re-charge and ground storage.  Further, as forest plants are to be used for fuelwood, timber or pulp, there is no chance of pathogens, heavy metals, and organic compounds to enter into the human food chain system, a point that is a limiting factor when vegetables or other crops are grown with sewage [2].

During the bottling process of beer, some glass bottles are broken and the waste is sent to recyclers. UB introduces 30% of new bottles every year and recycles their glass bottles after usage. They purchase the bottles at a price of Rs3/bottle from the retailers thus enabling the consumers to participate in the recycling process.

About the Author: Shubham Singh is presently working as the BIRAC Social Innovator at Venture Center, Pune.