Water donation efforts highlight a softer side of MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch's battle
Glenwood is facing the loss of its water treatment plant as flood waters continue to make their way down the Missouri River. Des Moines Register
The nation's two largest beer producers are stepping up their drinking-water donation efforts to the Midwestern region affected by devastating flooding amid ongoing tension between the brewers.
Anheuser-Busch, producer of Bud Light, Busch Light, Budweiser and more, announced on March 18 the donations of two truckloads of water, approximately 100,000 cans, to flooded communities in Iowa and Nebraska.
Another three truckloads (150,000 cans of water) followed on Thursday. That's nearly 25,000 gallons of canned drinking water donated by Anheuser-Busch since Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation on March 14.
MillerCoors, producer of Miller Lite and Coors Lite, also announced a donation of 100,000 cans of drinking water to Omaha and Sioux City.
The beer companies have found themselves competing for positive association among consumers, particularly in the Midwest, as they ramp up their ongoing marketing feud sparked by Anheuser-Busch's Bud Light commercials accusing MillerCoors of using corn syrup in its products.
The press release announcing MillerCoors' donation notes that the drinking water donation is occurring alongside Anheuser-Busch's, but the announcement was also made on March 22, the same day MillerCoors announced its lawsuit accusing Anheuser-Busch of unfairly maligning its product.
The shipment is part of a MillerCoors’ program launched in 2017 in partnership with can maker Ball Corp. The companies have committed to providing more than 2 million cans of drinking water to the Red Cross to aid communities affected by disasters.
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Anheuser-Busch has a long history of disaster-relief efforts. The Budweiser-producing beer giant has a long-standing relationship with the Red Cross, dating to 1908 and the city-razing San Francisco earthquake. Its current emergency drinking-water program has existed for over 30 years.
Unopened cans of water provided by Anheuser-Busch, along with other breweries and corporations, became collectibles in the aftermath of the Iowa floods of 1993. Des Moines police built a display of the different brands of not-for-sale water that were donated.
According to authorities in both Mills County, the southwestern Iowa county hit hard by flood damage, and Woodbury County, where Sioux City is located, the need for drinking water is being adequately met for the time being.
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