The Cartersville Anheuser-Busch brewery donated 2,156 cases — or 51,744 cans — of emergency drinking water to firefighters combatting forest fires in Washington state and the Pacific Northwest this week.
This wildfire season has been identified as the most severe in Washington state history, and the area of the blaze had grown to 450 square miles by Thursday. Relief efforts are extensive, and firefighters have poured in from around the country to help reduce the threat.
Enter Anheuser-Busch Cartersville, which, in May, halted normal operations and held a semi-annual run of emergency drinking water before donating several thousand cases to storm weather victims in Oklahoma and Texas. The shipment of water to assist the firefighters this week is the first major donation of water since then.
“I think it makes us feel like we can do something [for] firefighters who are on the front lines,” said Rob Haas, senior general manager. “We have people here in our brewery help package this water, help ship this water and I think it’s our small way of helping in relief efforts. But ultimately, when you look at what these firefighters are having to deal with, shipping emergency drinking water is just one small part of what they need out there, so it’s our small way of helping.”
Haas pointed out that Anheuser-Busch works closely with the Red Cross during times of crisis. According to a press release, the company also provides financial support to the organization as a member of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program.
“Firefighters and relief workers are in need of safe, clean drinking water, and Anheuser-Busch is in a unique position to produce and ship emergency drinking water,” said Peter Kraemer, vice president of supply for Anheuser-Busch, in the press release. “Our local distributors help identify those communities most in need and work with relief organizations such as the American Red Cross to make sure the water gets where it’s needed.”
Indeed, Haas affirmed, Anheuser-Busch Cartersville’s local distributor worked alongside Red Cross to move the stockpiled water across the United States as soon it was needed.
“We keep an inventory in a local warehouse ready to ship at a moment’s notice,” he explained. “In this case, the Red Cross contacted us through our local distributor, Columbia Distributing, ... and we’ve been collaborating with the American Red Cross for a very long time. We have a long-standing partnership.”
Haas said the water arrived at its designated location Wednesday.