Beer is about 90 percent water—meaning despite playing second fiddle to hops and malts, water is extremely important to brewers. It's why breweries are often on the forefront of things like protecting the Clean Water Act and supporting innovations to reclaim wastewater. It also helps to explain why a slew of breweries have thrown their support behind Drink Local Think Global, an organization looking to use the power of the craft beer industry to help provide clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries.
This week—October 21 to October 27—is the first-ever DLTG Craft Beer Week. According to CraftBeer.com, founder Brent Patterson originally launched his Drink Local Think Global concept as a small charity event in Omaha, Nebraska, in April 2016, by simply asking a handful of brewers to help battle the global water crisis. "Beforehand, I knew very little about the craft beer industry," he told me via email. "I don't have really in background in craft beer." Now a registered non-profit, the charity has partnered with over 100 breweries in 33 states to contribute a portion of this week's taproom sales (between 2 percent and 6.63 percent, according to Patterson) to provide wells for communities in need of clean water in areas like the Central African Republic and Ethiopia. According to the organization's website, so far they have drilled 16 wells serving 5,400 people. The group hopes the proceeds from this week alone will bring water to another 2,500 people.
"What inspired me is something a lot of breweries and consumers take for granted: not water, but how much we use," Bryan Stewart of Double Shift Brewing, one of this week's participants, told CraftBeer.com. "Drink Local Think Global helps communities that don't have simple access to water, let alone the amounts we take for granted."
Other well-known breweries taking part in the event include Missouri's Boulevard Brewing, Wyoming's Melvin Brewing, Wisconsin's Lakefront Brewery, and Georgia's Second Self Beer. And the beer rating app Untappd also lends some craft beer cred to the week as one of its official sponsors. You can find the entire list of participating breweries on the Craft Beer Week page of Drink Local Think Global's website. While there, you can also donate if you're interested—no drinking necessary.