Clean Water Means Business
“Don’t fix what ain’t broke.” Maybe that isn’t very good grammar, but it says what I’m thinking when it comes to remarks made on May 27th, 2015 when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers jointly released their updated Clean Water Rules. These rules have been years in the making, and have included hundreds of meetings with stakeholders of all stripes, a review of more than one thousand scientific articles, and hundreds of thousands of comments. But imagine my surprise when I learned that my brother Ike Broaddus was one of a small group of featured speakers at the signing! That’s the kind of surprise I like! Ike’s words, reprinted below, were so perfect that I can’t possibly improve on them.
Unlike me, Ike has been a businessman and entrepreneur all of his adult life. A few years ago he started getting an itch to open a craft brewery, and last winter he, along with his wife Julie Broaddus and brew master Charles Kling, opened the doors of Old Bust Head Brewing Company for business. In addition to planning for great beer, from the very beginning they took steps to incorporate sustainability into the company’s DNA. You can read about it on their website, or in a blog I wrote before they had a chance to do so themselves. They had barely sold their first bottle of beer when they joined NRDC’s Brewer’s for Clean Water. Though the list of brewers putting themselves out there for clean water is long, only one is located near Washington, D.C.
Here’s what Ike had to say (reprinted from OBH’s blog):
“Thank you. It’s an honor to be with you all today. My love for water started as a young boy, canoeing the Potomac River, from its headwaters to its tidal waters. I have fond memories of fishing, swimming, crabbing, oystering, and sailing in our beloved Chesapeake Bay just down stream from here.
“As a co-Owner of Old Bust Head Brewing Company, which we opened a little over a year ago, I am driven by those early experiences. Water is, of course, the backbone of our lives, and it’s also the backbone of the brewing industry.
“Small breweries employ over 110,000 people in the US today. These jobs, which can’t be outsourced, range from brewers to biochemists, from sales to human resources, and everything in between. These are good stable jobs at growing companies, which in many cases have been the key to revitalizing their communities.
“Even as a new business, we chose to embrace the “Brewers for Clean Water” initiative for several reasons:
“First, we believe that every business must do its part. At OBH, our investments in water conservation have resulted in a usage rate 24% below the industry average. That’s a good start, but we can do better. We believe that creating good jobs, being profitable, and being environmentally friendly, are not mutually exclusive goals.
“Second, brewers have a special connection with water. It is critical to the farmers who grow our barley; it’s essential for keeping our brewing equipment clean and sanitary; and, of course, water is the principal ingredient in beer. Without clean water, brewers cannot make good beer, and without good beer, a lot of people would be sad.
“And finally, it is clear today that abundant clean water is something we can no longer take for granted. It does us no good leave our children a thriving business, if we simultaneously leave them a deteriorating planet.
“To that end, Old Bust Head Brewing Company will always strive to do our part and we are grateful for the work you’re all doing to make clean water – and good beer – available for future generations.”
You can’t say it any better than that, but if you want to hear Ike say it for himself, watch the video (below). He comes on at a little after the six-minute mark.
One more personal note, many of you know that I wear a green wristband that says “Finley’s ‘Green Leap Forward'”. If you look closely, you’ll see the same on Ike’s wrist. Finley is Ike and Julie’s daughter who was seventeen years old when the brewery opened, with plans to study environmental policy at the College of William and Mary. Unfortunately, Finley’s body lost her fight against cholangiocarcinoma just a few months later, on June 2nd 2014, but clearly her voice still resonates through her father’s words. My guess is that this isn’t the last we’ll hear from Ike. Or from Finley.