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When COVID-19 hit last year, Anheuser-Busch turned its focus to ensuring the safety of its employees, protecting its supply chain, and supporting the communities in which it operates.
Anheuser-Busch has 120 facilities across 27 states, employing more than 19,000 people. During the pandemic, the company was able to leverage its unique reach, relationships and capabilities to quickly activate a crisis response and play a key role in supporting its communities.
A few examples of how Anheuser-Busch stepped up:
- Produced hand sanitizer for front line responders and poll workers. In April 2020, Anheuser-Busch used their production and distribution expertise to produce hand sanitizer which was donated to the American Red Cross, emergency management agencies, food banks, and healthcare systems across 20 states and Washington D.C. Additionally, ahead of the November election, Anheuser-Busch donated more than 8 million ounces of hand sanitizer to help ensure the safety of voters and polling site workers throughout the election process.
- Hosted blood drives and donated TV airtime. In March 2020 Anheuser-Busch redirected its sports and entertainment sponsorship investments to non-profit partners, helped the American Red Cross identify available stadiums for blood drives, and donated media airtime to the Red Cross for public service announcements.
- Used innovative marketing to boost restaurants. For example, Stella Artois together with the West Central Association and Illinois Restaurant Association created “Dining Together, Apart”, a campaign celebrating the creative steps restaurants took to keep serving customers safely with outdoor dining pods this winter.
- Donated meals. Hundreds of Anheuser-Busch employee volunteers provided their time and resources to donate more than 2,000 pounds of food and toiletries to non-profit organizations and deliver more than 43,000 meals to frontline workers and veterans.
The company is now putting the same energy into supporting the country’s economic recovery. In February 2021, Anheuser-Busch announced a planned investment of more than $1 billion over the next two years. The new investment is aimed at stimulating the economy in communities across the country, enabling sustainable innovations, and supporting job creation and retention in the beer industry, which creates more than 2.1 million jobs and generates more than $328 billion in economic activity each year.
“This past year has required that we all adapt in unexpected and challenging ways, but our connection and commitment to supporting our people, communities and partners remains unchanged,” said Michel Doukeris, CEO of Anheuser-Busch.
“Right now, our big dream is the recovery of our country. It’s the reopening of our neighborhood restaurants and bars, it’s cheering on our favorite teams and gathering together in person. We are here to find a better way to lead a safe and strong recovery, and we’re starting by investing across our U.S. supply chain to protect the industry and the millions of people who rely on it for their livelihoods. These investments are immediate and happening now.”
The investments come as the country still faces significant job losses amid the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – and Anheuser-Busch hopes that fortifying operations and strengthening connections to consumers will lead to the kind of economic growth the country needs.
Nearly $100 million of their investment will go toward sustainability projects, including solar panel installments, water treatment and other initiatives. In 2021 alone, close to $400 million will go to strengthening operations in the company’s 12 major Anheuser-Busch breweries.
Major projects will include:
- More than $50 million for new seltzer brewing capabilities
- More than $100 million for new can lines
Supporting Key Partners
Anheuser-Busch also plans to continue its support of the U.S. agricultural community, sourcing nearly all of its corn, rice, and barley ingredients from more than 900 American farms.
“We are committed to protecting peoples’ livelihoods across our entire supply chain – from farmers and bartenders to truck drivers and team members in our own facilities,” said Dave Taylor, U.S. Chief Supply Officer at Anheuser-Busch. “As the only brewer and alcohol manufacturer that can make an impact of this magnitude, we take this responsibility seriously. We know that when our communities get stronger, our country gets stronger, and that’s a step towards recovery.”
The brewer will also continue to support the recovery of the bar and restaurant industry through contributions to the U.S. Bartenders Guild, the James Beard Foundation and others, and a partnership with the National Restaurant Association to support their ServSafe Dining Commitment initiative.