Budweiser, Let Me Help You Out with Your Environmental Campaign

Budweiser Environmental Fail
In a classic example of a marketing gimmick, Budweiser’s Grow One, Save a Million environmental campaign hits a new low in transferring people’s attention away from the obvious and toward the illusory.

According to Budweiser’s propaganda Facebook page for the water conservation campaign, men use an average of 5 gallons of water each time they shave, and by getting American men to skip 200,000 shaves, they will help save a million gallons of water.

I’m sorry, but WTF, Budweiser?

Perhaps Anheuser Busch (AB) believes that those who drink Budweiser also drink so much of it that they can’t do basic math.

Let’s see if we can help them out with their Budweiser water conservation campaign.

The company which bottles liquids under the Budweiser label takes perfectly good barley and rice, along with copious amounts of (also perfectly good) clean drinking water, and then uses a lot of energy to turn it into a weak flavorless beverage. It’s considered to be beer, but it’s certainly not good beer, by any stretch of the imagination.

It is cheap and well known and widely available, however, and the advertising would have you believe that Budweiser is the ‘King’ of beers, and that ‘Good times are waiting’ (yes, good times are waiting until you drink enough cheap alcohol to ignore the fact that it’s tasteless and cheap). And it certainly doesn’t hurt that alcohol is the state sanctioned drug

But back to water: I looked all over their website, and did some cursory searching on the web, to see if I could find out how much water Budweiser uses for each barrel of beer produced. I couldn’t find anything definitive (I’m still waiting to hear back from an email I sent via their contact form), although this article, which touts a 6% savings in water for AB, states that they use water in production at a rate of over 4 to 1. So for a 32 gallon barrel of beer, that’s 128 gallons of water, which is a big contrast to another figure I found – that it takes 1500 gallons of water per barrel of beer brewed.

Perhaps the later figure takes into account the growing of the grains? Perhaps AB is doing some creative math? I don’t know, but the point is that a company which brews a mass-marketed beverage only serves themselves with this campaign.

In order to see the campaign, you need to ‘Like’ them on Facebook (which subsequently lets them market directly to you), and the operative wording on the campaign is such a cliché of ‘clicktivism‘ that it’s worth repeating, so you can laugh at it too:

Basically, you don’t have to do anything.

Well that’s freakin’ brilliant! I don’t have to do anything except click on the pledge button, and Budweiser gets credit for saving my imaginary 5 gallons of shaving water every day until World Environment Day.

I have a better idea: How about Budweiser produces a million gallons less of beer in honor of World Environment Day? That would save over four million gallons of water, by my reckoning. And we could actually count that as ‘saved water’, not some apocryphal million gallons which is based on the number of clicks on Facebook.

[Before I started writing this, I surfed around to some other green blogs to see if anyone else had a better rant that I could link to. Unfortunately, it seems that most of the authors had too much Budweiser to drink, and are seeing the campaign through beer goggles. See for yourself:

I did, however, appreciate this: Really Stupid Greenwash: Budweiser’s grow a beard, save water campaign and this: Pacific Shaving Company Asks Drinkers to Skip Beers, Save a Million Gallons of Water]

Image: lonelanternsociety at Flickr

Derek Markham

Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, permaculture, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues. Find me elsewhere at @NaturalPapa, @DerekMarkham, Google+, or RebelMouse.

4 thoughts on “Budweiser, Let Me Help You Out with Your Environmental Campaign

  • May 23, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Curious to know how much the “you don’t have to do anything” water savings compare with AB’s water consumption. Or water savings.

  • May 24, 2011 at 4:35 am

    Hey Derek, this is the first time that I hear about it, that takes beer production quantities of water. Anyway, I heard a lot more serious data about the meat industry, you know how many liters of water need to produce 1 pound of meat made​​? Astronomical numbers. I still drink beer sometimes, but it’s clear it’s just like candy and not the drink the most.

  • May 26, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Arrggg… not another corporation with a facebook ‘like’ campaign.

    Not only do Bud’s numbers seem awfully low for their own water use… I can’t imagine people actually use 5 gallons of water just to shave in the morning…

    But hey, maybe that’s just because I use electric. I guess I’m just an amazing water conservationist like that.


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