Heavy Seas Beer and the Clean Water Fund

CleanWater“Without clean water there is no beer.” That’s a great slogan for a brewery that supports clean water. I was drinking a Winter Storm Imperial ESB from Heavy Seas Beer when I saw, “Can’t make great beer without clean water!” printed on the label. I don’t remember seeing a brewery that was this open, direct, and to the point with its commitment to an environmental cause. The Clean Water Fund logo and information was right there on the back label. I was curious to know more about Heavy Seas Beer’s support of the Clean Water Fund.

I enjoy the environment of beer and reached out to them to learn more. Fred Crudder, Director of Marketing & Hospitality, responded and was happy to tell the story of their support of the Clean Water Fund. Thanks also to Christine Shaffer, PR & Communications. They invited me to the brewery to meet. Unfortunately they are in Baltimore and I’m in Denver. If you’re in Baltimore or the mid-Atlantic and want a good beer that supports a good cause, stop in for a pint. Have one for me, too.

What was the genesis of the support of the Clean Water Fund? I understand the direct connection between clean water and good beer, but not everyone makes that connection.

We had originally partnered with an organization called Ocean Research Project. Great people, great undertaking, something we really identified with: adventure, environment, the sea. Unfortunately they are 100% a research operation, and what they are doing was difficult for the community at large to identify with; it is very technical science-y stuff. So we moved on from ORP, looking for a water-focused organization that did work in all of the 18 states in which Heavy Seas sells beer. CWF is a national lobbying organization with offices in most parts of the country, but more importantly, their focus is the entire country. As a business, we found ourselves doing a ton of charity work and donations, essentially having a small effect on a lot of different things. Basically spinning our wheels. By putting most of our eggs in the CWF basket, we were able to have more impact than we had previously, and now our wheels have traction. I encourage all businesses to shift from scattershot charity work to more streamlined outreach. Not only does it benefit the business, the charities also win: they will inevitably have less work to do to find the funds needed to do their work.

Drinking a Winter Storm Imperial ESB.

Drinking a Winter Storm Imperial ESB.

Is this a passion for the owner, the brewers, or the whole staff?

Everyone here is concerned about environmental causes. It’s a craft brewery! We are also in Maryland, so the Chesapeake Bay is a major part of people’s lives from the cradle to the grave.

Does this support come from a background of environmental interest, a specific moment, past work experiences, recreation, etc.?

It comes from a pretty simple place: It is important for business to give back to the community. It is important that where we give benefits as many people in the community is possible. If you sit down to make a list of the things in our lives that touch every single person, if the environment is not the first thing on that list, well…what is? In addition, beer and water are inseparable.

You’re open about your support of the Clean Water Fund. It’s printed right on the bottle. Are your customers/drinkers attracted to this? Does it attract potential employees? Clearly, I was attracted to it.

Our customer awareness regarding the relationship between Heavy Seas Beer and Clean Water Fund could always improve, but we work on raising that awareness by selling co-branded merchandise, putting CWF literature on shelves with our beer, putting CWF logos on display materials, and telling our brewery tour attendees about it at every opportunity we have. In fact, the head honchos from CWF are attending our next monthly meeting of tap room employees and tour guides to give everyone a refresher as we exit winter and move towards the busy season of “not winter”.

Cheers to Heavy Seas Beer for this awesome commitment. Do you have a favorite Heavy Seas Beer? Are you reading this while in their tap room or drinking one of their brews? If so, toast their commitment to the environment and share their good work. Spread the word about the environment of beer!