Shock Top beer opens CSR campaign to help California save water

The Anheuser-Busch brand is donating $100,000 to Drop-A-Brick 2.0, which reduces the amount of water flushed down the toilet

SAN FRANCISCO — Anheuser-Busch brand Shock Top has teamed up with crowdfunding website IndieGogo and state organizations on a CSR effort to support water-saving inventions in drought-ravaged California.

The Shock the Drought campaign, which launched on Thursday, will first raise money for Drop-A-Brick 2.0, an eco-friendly rubber brick that reduces the amount of water used when a toilet is flushed. Shock Top is donating $100,000 to the new product, which saves a half-gallon of water with each flush, resulting in 50 gallons saved per week and about 1,500 gallons over the course of a year, explained Jake Kirsch, vice president and leader of the Anheuser-Busch brand.  

Kirsch added that getting involved with the drought issue made sense for Shock Top because the brand has a connection with California.  

"One out of every four Shock Tops sold in the country is sold in California, and 95% of our flagship Belgian white brand is brewed in California, so we’re really rooted in the state and have been for a long time," he explained.

To promote the effort, Shock Top and its partners will engage state and national media and leverage their social channels, including Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. IndieGogo marketing head Christian Busch said the brand will also use email to get its 15 million to 20 million users excited about the effort.

During World Water Week at the end of August, the companies will add a paid media campaign with branded content that will run through the end of October. Kirsch said BuzzFeed will be a valuable partner for the campaign.

Grassroots marketing will play a role in the program, as well, with Shock Top launching initiatives such as "iceless Wednesdays" and "no rocks happy hours" at California bars, Kirsch said.

The CSR program was a "natural fit" for Shock Top, said Kirsch, because it heard from employees and consumers that they associate water-conservation efforts with the brand and its parent company. Over the last decade, Anheuser-Busch has reduced water use at its California breweries in Los Angeles and Fairfield by more than 40%, according to a company statement. The California breweries are also on track to decrease water usage by an additional 5% by the end of the year.

Ian Montgomery, co-founder of Drop-A-Brick 2.0, said the initiative will make a big difference for the company.

"It’s going to probably drop production cost by about 75%, and that will mean we can not only get a huge amount of free bricks out into the community, we can also greatly reduce the price for those who are purchasing them," he said.

In addition to Drop-A-Brick 2.0, Shock Top will identify, with the help of its NGO partners and experts, four more water innovations to fund on IndieGogo through the end of 2015. The beer brand is collaborating with news platform Water Deeply, California conservation education program Save Our Water, Los Angeles water education campaign Save the Drop, and the Solano County Water Agency.

The partners will also provide water-saving tips and resources for consumers on and their own websites and social channels.

Busch said IndieGogo’s involvement, in addition to aiding in the drought issue, "helps us bring awareness to how technology can change the world for consumers.

This article first appeared on

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