Hurricane Harvey has been downgraded to a tropical storm, but that's a distinction that brings little relief to the Gulf Coast residents who are still enduring unrelenting rain storms and disastrous flooding. Houston alone has already gotten 30 to 40 inches of rain, and forecasters have reluctantly predicted an additional 15 to 25 inches over the course of the week. The full extent of the damage won't be calculated for weeks but, until then, first responders and disaster relief organisations have been working around the clock to help as many residents as they can, and they're getting some much-needed help from what, on first glance, might seem like an unlikely source.
Anheuser-Busch has stopped producing beer at its Cartersville, Georgia facility and is instead using the 900,000 square foot brewery to can water which it will then send to Harvey-ravaged parts of the country. "Throughout the year, we periodically pause beer production at our Cartersville, Georgia brewery to produce emergency canned drinking water so we are ready to help out communities across the country in times of crisis," Bill Bradley, Anheuser-Busch's Vice President of Community told MUNCHIES. "Putting our production and logistics strengths to work by providing safe, clean drinking water is the best way we can help in these situations."
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The company said the brewery had originally planned to send 50,000 cans to the Red Cross facility in Baton Rouge, Louisiana but, as of Monday, it had sent more than 155,000 cans of clean drinking water. Two truckloads of that water—adding up to around 100,000 cans—are expected to arrive at the Red Cross in Arlington, Texas by Wednesday (depending on the road conditions).
Anheuser-Busch has a long, long history of contributing emergency supplies after natural disaster, dating back to when co-founder Adolphus Busch donated $100,000 (the equivalent of $2.7M today) to the relief effort that followed the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
The company says it has partnered with the Red Cross for more than 100 years and, in the past 20 years, it has contributed to disaster recovery efforts in more than 20 states. Most recently, in October 2016, it shipped more than 724,400 cans of drinking water to those who were affected by Hurricane Matthew. (And it sent 9.4 million cans to the Gulf Coast in 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita).
When the Cartersville facility returns to producing beer, that location will brew and bottle more than 20 different kinds of beer and malt liquor, including everything from original recipe Budweiser and Michelob (and all of their many incarnations) to King Cobra Malt Liquor and whatever is in a Bud Light Mixxtail.
Regardless, the next time you drink a Budweiser, you might want to raise that glass in the direction of Cartersville, Georgia.