It’s been over a week since a powerful storm caused flooding throughout several Vermont communities. But area breweries continue to help by delivering potable water to the victims and volunteers.
“After the flood hit, we grouped as a team and decided the best thing we could do is deliver fresh water to the affected communities,” says Sean Lawson, co-owner of Lawson’s Finest Liquids, a brewery in Waitsfield. “We did not get flooded and we had to halt distribution of our beer due to the roads and many of our accounts being closed. So we gathered up water bottles and filled our truck with water to give away.”
The team at Lawson’s Finest has distributed water throughout Washington County, starting in Montpellier, the state’s capital, and in Barre and Marshfield. “We’ve given away thousands of water bottles and will fill any containers people bring to the truck.” Lawson estimates they are delivering between 500 and 700 gallons per day of water. Lawson’s Finest also owns some short-term rental accommodations, which it made available to displaced staff and family.
Breweries are in a good position to deliver water since they themselves manage water as part of their brewing operations. Breweries have liquid-tight totes and trucks and, from participating in beer festivals, even have the event tents and tables that make water distribution efficient.
The Alchemist, a brewery located in Stowe, also mobilized to help. “In Lamoille County where we are based, many towns did not have potable water for more than week. We were able to drop full pallets of drinking water at central drop off locations, like in coordination with the Food Shelf, but we also delivered water directly to rural, and often isolated, homes and communities.” says Jen Kimmich, co-founder and general manager. “Although we are based in a wealthy resort town, rural poverty is in our backyard. There are some remote areas that really get left behind. We have been trying to get into those places to see what kinds of services we can offer.”
The Alchemist itself was destroyed by flooding after Hurricane Irene hit in 2011. Kimmich says they would be offering whatever help and support they could regardless of having been victims of flooding themselves, but having experienced a flood has allowed them to provide some guidance to local businesses, especially words of encouragement.
“This is our community,” says Kimmich. “Complete strangers are shoveling out peoples’ basements, working tirelessly around the clock to help their neighbors in every way manageable. To even suggest we are doing something special or different is way off base. We are all pitching in here. Vermonters are some of the hardest working and most resilient people you will find anywhere. And we truly love our state. We will work together until every towns’ vibrancy returns.”
The government of Vermont has a list of links for people wanting to help.