Story at a glance
- Several companies, including Anheuser-Busch, transitioned from normal production operations to producing hand sanitizer and personal protective equipment to support coronavirus relief efforts.
- The St.Louis-based brewing company is donating more than 8 million ounces of hand sanitizer to polling locations for the November election.
- Anheuser-Busch is working with federal and state officials to distribute the hand sanitizer to state election offices.
Anheuser-Busch is producing a different type of alcohol these days — the kind that goes in hand sanitizer. This November, you might be using one of their products at your local polling station.
“Anheuser-Busch is committed to uniting our communities, strengthening our democracy and encouraging even greater participation in the political process. One part of this commitment is shifting our production capabilities to donate hand sanitizer so that election officials and voters throughout the country can take part in a safe election this fall,” said Cesar Vargas, Chief External Affairs Officer of Anheuser-Busch, in a release. “We like to say that ‘beer is bipartisan’ and we are proud to step up and serve our communities during this election season.”
The American beer company is partnering with the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), the National Association of Secretaries of State and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to donate more than 8 million ounces of hand sanitizer to state election offices that have requested it.
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“The safety of our voters and our election workers is paramount this year, especially as election officials prepare for record turnout in the November election. With PPE in short supply, we appreciate Anheuser-Busch helping state and local election officials serve our voters safely. Voters across the country can feel confident knowing their election officials are taking steps to provide for their safety if they choose to vote in person,” said Lori Augino, President of NASED and Director of Elections in Washington, in a release.
The St. Louis-based brewing company was one of several that switched over their operations to produce hand sanitizer and personal protective equipment (PPE) earlier this year at their breweries in Baldwinsville, N.Y., and Los Angeles, as well as facilities of local partners Devil’s Backbone and Cutwater Spirits. In addition to producing hand sanitizer for their own company use, the brewer has donated more than 500,000 8-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer to community organizations across 20 states and Washington, D.C.
The company already had the blueprint, Vargas told Changing America, from a program started in 1988 to produce emergency drinking water in case of disasters. Anheuser-Busch periodically pauses beer production in two breweries, one in Fort Collins, Colo., and the other in Cartersville, Ga., to build up a stockpile.
“We saw the shortage of hand sanitizer obviously that was becoming a problem, we knew we had the materials and the capability at the brewery to produce hand sanitizer, so we moved very quickly,” Vargas said.
Only about 15 percent of the company's 18,000 employees have been able to work remotely, but Anheuser-Busch temporarily increased pay until June for those that are working on-site in addition to instituting screening, sanitization and distancing measures, according to the company's website. Full-time employees have also been given additional paid leave in case of COVID-19 related illness.
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