Beer Provides Opportunity To Educate About Water in Arizona

April 19, 2016

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SanTan Brewing participates in Tap to Top outreach campaign

The Tap to Top outreach campaign educates Arizona citizens about the connectionb between healthy watersheds and beer. Photo courtesy of the National Forest Foundation (Missoula, Mont.).

The Tap to Top outreach campaign educates Arizona citizens about the connectionb between healthy watersheds and beer. Photo courtesy of the National Forest Foundation (Missoula, Mont.).

The next time Phoenix-area residents reach for a SanTan Brewing Co. (Phoenix) beer, they might be reminded about the importance of having a reliable source of clean water.

SanTan has partnered with Crescent Crown Distributing (Mesa, Ariz.) and the National Forest Foundation (Missoula, Mont.) to launch the Tap to Top outreach campaign. Together the organizations look for opportunities to educate citizens about the role healthy watersheds play in providing water supplies for cities, and, ultimately, the beer their residents drink.

SanTan Brewing Co. (Phoenix), Crescent Crown Distributing (Mesa, Ariz.), and the National Forest Foundation are working through the Tap to Top campaign to increase public awareness about the source and importance of clean water. Photo courtesy of the National Forest Foundation.

SanTan Brewing Co. (Phoenix), Crescent Crown Distributing (Mesa, Ariz.), and the National Forest Foundation are working through the Tap to Top campaign to increase public awareness about the source and importance of clean water. Photo courtesy of the National Forest Foundation.

“The goal of Tap to Top is to increase public awareness about where our water comes from and the importance of healthy watersheds,” said Marcus Selig, Southern Rockies regional director at the National Forest Foundation. “We hope to increase public support for watershed restoration activities that protect our water supplies.”

Tap to Top launched during Arizona Beer Week in February. The campaign kicked off with a video that takes viewers on a journey from the SanTan taps, along the Salt River Project (SRP; Phoenix) canals, across reservoirs and streams in the watershed, to the top of the forest plateau.

Northern Arizona’s water supply depends on healthy forests. Photo courtesy of the Salt River Project.

Northern Arizona’s water supply depends on healthy forests. Photo courtesy of the Salt River Project.

“Telling the story of where your drinking water comes from is a complicated endeavor, especially in the Arizona desert where water can travel such great distances and from various sources before reaching a faucet,” Selig said. “The idea was to tell the story in a fun, interactive way, taking viewers on a video tour from a beer ‘tap’ in the Phoenix area to the ‘top’ of Arizona’s forested watersheds.”

The water supply for millions comes from national forests in northern Arizona. Previous management practices, which included decades of fire suppression, have created unhealthy forest conditions. Those challenges combined with ongoing drought has made maintaining a sustainable supply of high quality water difficult, Selig said.

Anthony Canecchia, founder and brewmaster at SanTan Brewing Co., takes viewers on a journey from the SanTan taps to the forest plateau in a video that kicked off the Tap to Top campaign. Photo courtesy of SanTan Brewing.

Anthony Canecchia, founder and brewmaster at SanTan Brewing Co., takes viewers on a journey from the SanTan taps to the forest plateau in a video that kicked off the Tap to Top campaign. Photo courtesy of SanTan Brewing.

“We can’t serve and enjoy our delicious local craft beer without a clean water source, and that starts at the source — protecting and preserving our forests in Northern Arizona,” said Matt Neuman, national sales director for SanTan Brewing Co. “It’s all about education and making that connection for people who may have never thought about what exactly it takes to get clean water (and quality beer).”

The campaign promotes and connects citizens to the Northern Arizona Forest Fund (NAFF). Developed in partnership with SRP, NAFF works to complete high priority restoration projects in the Salt and Verde river watershed that will improve habitat, reduce the risk of severe wildfires, and reduce erosion and runoff, Selig said. Success of each project is monitored and reported annually in such publications as in the 2015 NAFF annual report.

Tap to Top uses the message that the supply of local craft beer depends on a clean water source, and clean water depends on restoring the Salt and Verde river watershed as well as national forests. Photo courtesy of Coconino National Forest.

Tap to Top uses the message that the supply of local craft beer depends on a clean water source, and clean water depends on restoring the Salt and Verde river watershed as well as national forests. Photo courtesy of Coconino National Forest.

After learning about the source of drinking water and importance of clean watersheds for the supply, citizens are encouraged to support NAFF’s restoration efforts by giving money, volunteering, or advocating for clean water, Selig said.

“Our forests are also important to local Arizona communities because of the forest products they provide, recreational opportunities they offer, and the local tourism economies they support. Furthermore, they are home to wildlife and a diverse array of ecosystems.  It is essential to protect the places that provide such vital resources,” Selig said.

Other Arizona companies — Finley Distributing (Tucson, Ariz.) and Canyon Distributing (Prescott Valley, Ariz.) — also have supported Tap to Top by making donations. Some of these donations come from proceeds of beer sales during special events, said Krissy Hansen, on premise marketing manager for Crescent Crown Distributing.

— Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights

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