As the boil notice continues in the city, Austin breweries are stepping in to support the city and local businesses by providing clean water since Monday, October 22.
It began when Brew & Brew’s co-founder Matt Wright started an email chain bringing together local coffee shops and breweries, according to Jake Maddux of the Brewer’s Table. Wright realized he was in the middle of several text threads about the boil and the best ways to help out, so he decided to combine it into a main email chain.
Wright’s forthcoming brewery Hold Out was going to boil water on its small system, but he realized there were bigger breweries that would be able to handle larger volumes of water. Coffee shops expressed their needs, and breweries fulfilled the requests.
“I can’t say enough how supportive our friends in the brewing community are,” Wright said, “offering to help right away and welcoming coffee shops they have no prior working relationship with.”
“We’re really lucky in Austin to have a small business community that jumps at the chance to help each other out,” Wright continued.
The email chain led to Govalle brewery/restaurant the Brewer’s Table helping out East Austin coffee shop Figure 8. Brewer’s has been boiling water with its brew kettle, which can fit 230 gallons, as well as filling its several holding tanks.
While using the water for the brewery and the restaurant, Brewer’s gave 15 gallons to Figure 8 so far and will continue to do so. “The idea is to continue to supply water to them daily in hopes of lessening the financial loses and so they can operate their small business,” said Maddux.
Holly sour brewery Blue Owl Brewing gave East Austin coffee shop Fleet Coffee boiled water so that it could open today. “The cool thing is how damn awesome the community is,” Fleet Coffee’s Patrick Piece said. The exchange came about because Blue Owl brewer Jacob Piland, who is a Fleet regular, offered water yesterday.
To make use of the clean water, Fleet filled its reservoir tanks with Blue Owl’s supply. The coffee shop isn’t serving ice drinks during the meantime, but if the boil notice continues, it will look to procure ice from clean sources.
“We’re in the business of boiling water and being a good neighbor,” said Blue Owl owner Jeff Young. The brewery, which can boil over 1,000 gallons of water using its steam-heated kettle, is also helping out East 7th coffee shop Revival, and he’s talking to others for potential help too, including breakfast trailer Paperboy.
Young acknowledges that the time and energy spent boiling water will mean Blue Owl won’t be able to make as much beer for itself. “This will financially affect us to some extent,” he said, “just not sure how much yet.”
Crestview spot Black Star Co-op Jodi Mozeika knew the brewpub would be okay because of its access to its brew kettle, which meant a lot of boiled, clean water.
“Everyone should have access to clean water, we’re a brewpub that’s owned by the community, and it was an easy decision to make our excess available to the community that serves us,” Mozeika said.
So that Black Star could boil water for others, it pushed back its own brewing schedule. This meant clean water for its customers, businesses, Black Star co-op members, shelters, and more.
Far south Austin brewery St. Elmo Brewing Company is also offering clean, boiled water to local businesses like JuiceLand, as well as Pinthouse Pizza’s two locations (which helped out Houndstooth Coffee), Hops & Grain, Zilker Brewing Company, and Live Oak.
Cedar Park’s Whitestone Brewery (the city isn’t affected by the boil water notice) stepped in to help Rainey Street beer bar Craft Pride. The brewery and the bar have worked together for a while. “They expressed to us the urgent need for water,” said Whitestone founder Ryan Anglen, and so the brewery did. It kegged up several half-barrels of clean Cedar Park water for Craft Pride and delivered it to the bar.
“When it comes down to it, the beer community always does an awesome job coming together to help each other at times like this,” Anglen said. “We’ve definitely been on the other side of it, so we’re just happy to have the opportunity to help where we can.”
Other breweries are also allowing people to fill up containers with water, like Jester King Brewery and Oasis Texas Brewing. Independence Brewing Co. is doing the same throughout the length of the boil notice, to both people who come in with containers and local businesses like JuiceLand.
At this time, it is unclear how long the boil notice will last. Austin Water says it doesn’t “anticipate our water issues to last beyond a handful of days,” whereas the Travis County Chief Emergency Management Coordinator Eric Carter said it could last anywhere between ten to 14 days.
This article has been updated to include comments from Brew & Brew co-founder Matt Wright, as well as more breweries helping out other businesses and people.