Hurricane Florence Relief: Budweiser Cans Water Instead Of Beer

CBS News, News 9

When major disasters strike, such as what promises to deliver, some Anheuser Busch breweries can temporarily turn their canning operations from beer to water, as a way to help communities that are hit.

"We've already sent water to the Carolinas. We already had that request, so it's already there staged just in case it's needed," Cesar Vargas, vice president of legal and corporate affairs at the Anheuser Busch plant in Fort Collins, Colorado, told CBS affiliate KCNC. "We've just paused for a couple of days, and we can produce thousands and thousands of cases of water."

The Fort Collins brewery is one of two Anheuser Busch locations that periodically switches its operations to canning water so the Red Cross has a supply on hand when disasters hit – be it a wildfire or a hurricane.

Anheuser Busch said in a statement that it's also sending six truckloads, or more than 300,000 cans, of drinking water to North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia from its facility in Cartersville, Georgia. The water will be sent to the company's wholesale partners, which will coordinate with emergency services to distribute it to communities in need.

"The fact that we can help our neighbors when they need it most ... it really is a special feeling," Vargas said.

Hurricane Florence, which is currently on track to slam into the East Coast could cost more than $170 billion and damage nearly 759,000 homes and businesses, according to analytics firm CoreLogic. That would make Florence the costliest storm ever to hit the U.S. in terms of property loss.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned in a news conference Tuesday that Florence could be a once-in-a-lifetime type of storm and urged residents to take precautions. "This is storm is a monster," Cooper said. "Even if you've ridden out storms before, this one is different. Don't bet your life on riding out a monster."