By Will Rotunno, Bluestem Communications Intern

Chemically speaking, water is comprised of two hydrogen molecules bonded to one molecule of oxygen. This simple compound comprises 65% of your body, and for the folks at Budweiser, clean water is the first ingredient in quality beer. Drinkable freshwater accounts for a meager 0.3% of all liquid on Earth and maintaining its cleanliness will allow life as well as beer to prosper; a future, most would agree, for which it is worth getting your hands dirty.

Budweiser is no stranger to this concept as demonstrated by their commitment to keep America’s lakes and rivers clean. Now in its second year, Budweiser’s “America Made Better” campaign helps connect people to their watershed through cleanup events across the country. Volunteers twenty-one and over receive expedited entrance – and a chance to win VIP access – to the “Made in America” concert series.


On June 28, Budweiser sponsored a cleanup event at Chicago’s Montrose Beach to tackle the trash along Chicago’s Lake Michigan coast. Budweiser partnered with Bluestem Communications to promote Great Lakes Forever, one of our long-standing education and outreach programs. Following the Alliance for the Great Lakes-proven model for beach cleanups, Bluestem coordinated the on-the-ground logistics of the cleanup. Thanks to this partnership, 60 volunteers – including dedicated Budweiser and Goose Island employees  –  removed  approximately 500 pounds of trash from the Montrose Beach shoreline and surrounding park area.

Volunteers not only picked up trash, but they recorded the types of trash found on the beach and in the park. The Alliance for the Great Lakes utilizes data from cleanup events to develop educational and outreach materials and to devise protective legislation to combat pollution issues. For example, in just two hours volunteers collected approximately 1,300 cigarette butts. The Alliance can use this data to develop a policy banning cigarette smoking from beaches to help prevent the contamination of the lake and the aquatic ecosystems that help maintain this vital freshwater resource.  Other top items included food wrappers (813), metal (447) and plastic (471) bottle caps, pieces of glass (452), and straws/stirrers (232).

More than 26 million people rely on Lake Michigan for drinking water. Realizing the importance of sanitary water, whether it be for drinking or for beer manufacturing, is the first step in ensuring clean freshwater exists generations to come.  Join Budweiser at a future cleanup event in your city to help make America better.