Casual Animal Brewing Co. Flight

Drink beer for a good cause at Casual Animal Brewing Co.

From Oct. 21 through 27, "Drink Local Think Global" will unite craft breweries across the country to help provide clean water to communities in need. The need is mind-boggling: The World Health Organization reported in 2017 that 785 million people worldwide – more than double the U.S. population – do not have access to an improved water source. They lack a basic drinking-water service via a household connection, protected spring, well or other sources.

“I wholeheartedly believe every person on earth should have access to clean water [as] one of the most basic necessities of human life,” founder Brent Patterson said in a release. “It's saddening to think how many families don't have that.”

For the October 2019 campaign, "Drink Local Think Global" has enlisted participating breweries to donate between 2 to 6.63 percent of their taproom beer sales. Two percent represents the estimated 2,000 children who die daily from diseases caused by unclean water. Access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene has the potential to prevent at least 9.1 percent of global diseases and 6.3 percent of all deaths.

Patterson currently has signed up 35 breweries in Missouri and Nebraska to participate, including Earthbound Beer in St. Louis and Boulevard Brewing Co., Casual Animal Brewing Co., Crane Brewing, Stockyards Brewing Co. and more in Kansas City. He aims to enlist up to 500 breweries to donate toward the charitable cause. The nonprofit effort has gained momentum with Untappd as an official sponsor.

Since its initial fundraising campaign three years ago, "Drink Local Think Global" has raised $193,000. During the 28-day campaign in 2016, Patterson only consumed rice and water to raise money and awareness for the cause.

“Co-founder Lindsey Gregory and I never intended to be a non-profit. So many breweries at the event kept asking us when we would be hosting another,” Patterson said. “People at the event absolutely loved it. We decided to move forward and become an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Before hearing of the global water crisis, I had never been to a developing country nor had I ever donated toward causes helping others outside of our country. I was definitely very ignorant.”

Patterson has worked on "Drink Local Think Global" since 2015 on a volunteer basis. A private group of donors covers the operational expenses for the campaign, which so far has raised enough funds to drill 17 wells serving over 5,000 people primarily in the Central African Republic. All public donations are allocated to provide clean water per the nonprofit’s mission.

This year, "Drink Local Think Global" aims to raise $150,000. This money would fund drilling for 10 wells and provide an estimated 5,000 people access to clean and safe drinking water.

“Water For Good is our [on the] ground partner and drills the wells along with maintenance,” Patterson said. “We absolutely love them because they have one of the best maintenance programs in the world. They not only care about getting the well drilled, but also making sure it remains working so all the communities have sustainable access to clean water.”

After the October event, "Drink Local Think Global" will disburse funds so that the drilling process may begin. Each drilling project takes an estimated eight to 12 months to complete. Afterward, the nonprofit provides photos, GPS coordinates, community information and completion reports on projects to participating breweries and donors. "Drink Local Think Global" also posts photos of every drilled well on social media so people can follow along with the organization's mission.

Visit drinklocalthinkglobal.org for more information and to donate.

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Writer Pete Dulin is the author of Kansas City Beer: A History of Brewing in the Heartland, KC Ale Trail, and Expedition of Thirst: Exploring Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries Across Central Kansas and Missouri.

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