Two or three times every year the brewery switches the canning line over to water, said General Manager Rob Haas. The Cartersville location is the only Anheuser-Busch brewery in the U.S. to can the emergency water, handling the company’s entire need for disaster relief when it comes to water.
“We’ve been canning water for over 10 years,” Haas said. “Anheuser-Busch has been donating water since 1988. In fact we’ve donated over 72 million cans since 1988. Just in the last two years we’ve donated 1.6 million cans to disaster relief efforts.”
As a company, Anheuser-Busch’s disaster relief efforts date back more than 100 years.
“If you go back in the history of our company, Adolphus Busch made a donation to relief efforts in support of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. That started the disaster relief support that Anheuser-Busch has done for over a century. As far as emergency drinking water, we saw a need. As a community partner we work very closely with our wholesalers, with the Red Cross, with other disaster relief agencies and community partners to try to support any way we can. Emergency water is something we are uniquely suited to do,” Haas said.
The canned water is the same used to brew the various beers made at the facility. After running through a carbon filter, the water is later pasteurized in the same process used for beer. Haas said it has a shelf life of approximately one year.
A regular stock of emergency water is kept in the brewery’s warehouse at all times so that it can be shipped at a moment’s notice. Anywhere from 35,000 to 70,000 cases may be stored there at a given time.
Canning the water is something the brewery employees look forward to every year, said Senior
Resident Manager Michelle Kelly.
“Our employees get really excited about it. I think it’s because it’s the right thing to do. We’ve helped so many people across the U.S. Last year recently, when we had the Adairsville storm that came through, the bad tornado, we were even able to help some of our own. We had some employees whose homes were lost as a result of that storm, so I think our employees knowing the impact that providing emergency relief water in that their company actually does that. I think it really speaks volumes to them,” she said.
Haas estimated it would take 24 to 48 hours to get emergency water to a location on the East Coast or Midwest, while more distant locations could take 48 hours to three days. It depends on the wholesaler the brewery works with and when the brewery is notified, Haas said.
“The Cartersville brewery produces all the emergency drinking water for Anheuser-Busch here in the United States, so the employees here are very proud. We as a family, as an Anheuser-Busch family, consider this our small part to play in the process,” he said. “We’re lucky in that we work for a company that considers disaster relief like this very important and we’re just one small part of the process.”