If you drink beer in a brewery taproom anytime from October 21 to 27, you might be helping a community in need get access to fresh water.
The nonprofit Drink Local, Think Global is inviting breweries nationwide to donate a percentage—anywhere from 2 to 6.63 percent—of their taproom proceeds that week. Those donations go toward efforts to address a water crisis in the Central African Republic. Specifically, the group is funding the construction of badly needed wells in affected communities.
Brent Patterson, founder of Drink Local, Think Global, says that 105 breweries from 33 states have signed up to its Craft Beer Week effort so far. They include names such as Boulevard, Melvin, and Nebraska Brewing, though the hope is that the roster will grow further.
“We are hopeful that this week will raise at least $15,000 to drill one well for a community in the Central African Republic,” says Patterson. “To date, we have drilled 16 wells and provided over 4,500 people access to clean and safe drinking water.”
Patterson says that about 663 million people worldwide lack access to clean water, while an estimated 2,000 children per day die from diseases caused by unsafe water.
In its invitation to breweries, the nonprofit says that its goal is to recruit 500 breweries and raise $150,000. The group says that would be enough to drill 10 wells and provide access to clean water for about 5,000 people.
“The Central African Republic is where the drilling will take place, most likely but not guaranteed in the region of Gamboula or Berberati,” Patterson says. “Our ground partner will choose the best location for the well.”
Patterson started the group in 2016. It began as a one-off event with five breweries in Omaha, Nebraska. Patterson went 29 days eating only rice and water, to raise awareness of the crisis. They were able to raise more than $16,000 and build one well.
"That's all it was ever supposed to be, one event, I never wanted to start a non-profit," Patterson says. "But we felt we had a solid vision with an incredible mission, and a great brand to partner with craft breweries across the nation."
"We realize that craft breweries are bombarded with request from nonprofits and organizations weekly," he says. "Our hope is we can build strong long-term partnerships with breweries across the nation as drinking local and supporting craft breweries is a major part of our brand."
Patterson says he had been thinking of a Craft Beer Week for a couple of years, "and we finally had the time & capability to move forward with it. It has gone over much better then we could have ever expected and we plan on making it an annual event."
Essentially, Patterson says he likes the idea of people making a difference by drinking good beer. "Our slogan, and it's on our CBW shirts being released today, is 'Craft Beer For Me, Clean Water For Them.' These breweries are the heroes by being involved and we hope it shines a light on them."
Breweries interested in participating in Drink Local, Think Global’s Craft Beer Week can contact the group via its website.