Flint residents affected by water crisis to receive aid from breweries via canned water


By: Eric Strader

If any industry knows the importance of clean, safe drinking water, it’s breweries.

They rely on good water sources to make their product, and if the water isn’t good, their beer definitely won’t be good.  Water in Flint, Mich., became contaminated with lead in 2014, when the city switched to water from the more corrosive Flint River, which caused lead to leach into drinking water, according to USA Today.  While the city has switched back to Lake Huron water through Detroit’s water system, the water is still not safe to drink, and state officials have not said when the water might be drinkable again. Several breweries have recently stepped up to help out.

I generally don’t get to write too much about Anheuser-Busch in Hop Notes, but it was no surprise to learn that they are shipping more than 50,000 cans from its brewery in Georgia to help the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan supply the city with clean, drinkable water.

“Anheuser-Busch is committed to supporting local communities,” Bill Bradley, vice president of community affairs for Anheuser-Busch, said in a press release. “This is one way we can help our friends and neighbors in a time of need.”

Anheuser-Busch often sends canned water to places of need, as they also did recently when it supplied more than 188,000 cans to St. Louis and Oklahoma City after flooding and storms left residents without drinking water. But it’s not just the big players that are helping Flint.  

Online donations may be given at LaCasa Inc.’s website until Feb. 11 and physical donations may be dropped off from 2 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday at St. James AME Church, 122 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

Right Brain Brewery owner and Flint area native Russ Springsteen announced that his brewery will use its facility as a collection center for packaged water for residents of Flint.

“In Traverse City (Mich.) we are fortunate to have easy access to fresh drinking water. Besides owning a business that relies heavily on fresh water, I’m a parent and I want to help make sure kids are drinking fresh water,” said Springsteen.

Water donations may be dropped off at the brewery, located at 225 E. 16th St., in Traverse City, during regular business hours, and anyone 21 or older who makes a donation of packaged water may purchase a pint of Smooth Operator Cream Ale for $2. Donations will be delivered to the United Way water distribution operation in Flint.

Longmont, Colo., based Oskar Blues Brewery partnered with the Ball Corp., who donated the cans to send 100,000 cans of water. Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis stopped all beer production for eight days in order to switch over to canning clean drinking water. He was quoted at  as saying “When Flint’s water crisis happened, we all thought the same thing: ’How the hell does something like this happen?’ You can’t even believe it. You don’t think about if you should help, it’s about how quickly can we help,” Katechis said in an interview with Inc.com.

Oskar Blues began distributing beer to Michigan in 2013 and just about a year ago purchased Perrin Brewing Co. located just north of Grand Rapids. Mich.

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