BEND, Ore. - (Update: Adding $1 to $2 cost per can)
Deschutes Brewery said Friday it is canning water this summer to promote responsible recreation and keep single-use plastic water bottles out of the Deschutes River, trails, lakes and forests.
The brewery said it "loves sharing its territory with fellow adventurers, but asks that visitors care for it as if they were a local. The brewery takes pride in its namesake and has vowed to help prevent plastic water bottles from littering the beloved territory by canning water for summer activities and encouraging recycling.
Bend, Oregon, a major tourist attraction for its diverse outdoor recreation and craft beer culture, estimated over 200,000 people floated the section of the Deschutes River that runs right past the brewery in 2018, a major impact to the river.
Deschutes Brewery co-owners participate in annual river cleanups using scuba divers and boats to pull trash from the river. Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe, a long-time partner of the brewery, shares Deschutes' point of view on plastic.
In 2018, they serviced over 40,000 "floaters" during the summer and sold many single use plastic water bottles. Eliminating plastic consumption in their operation is part of their values to protect the river.
"We work hard to maintain our river clean-up efforts with the Upper Deschutes Watershed and Bend Parks & Rec, but we realized we could do more," said Geoff Frank, owner of Tumalo Creek. "That's when we approached our friends at Deschutes, knowing they share similar values."
Deschutes Brewery's Director of Operations, Mark Fischer was instrumental in getting this project underway. "The second I heard of this effort I wanted to support it but worried we may have equipment constraints here at the brewery," Fisher said. "My team was so motivated by this initiative, they moved mountains to figure out a way to make it happen in just three months' time."
Bend is known for of its high-quality water, it's what makes the craft beer from this region so good. Deschutes uses water from the City of Bend municipality that is filtered through carbon to remove the chlorine and then through several sub-micron filters to remove particulates and microbes.
Denise Rowcroft, Sustainability Educator at the Environmental Center, said, "One of the main advantages is that metal can be infinitely recycled, but plastic can only be recycled once then usually it's at its end of life. Virtually all metal products have recycled metal content in it and can be continually recycled, thereby reducing the need and energy required to mine virgin non-renewable resources."
Both Deschutes and Tumalo Creek encourage the use of refillable water bottles and are selling canned water in place of a plastic alternative. They'll sell for about $1 to $2 a can around town. Consumers are encouraged to recycle their cans and bring the empties to the Deschutes Brewery Pubs and Bend Tasting Room for $1 off their purchase.
Deschutes Brewery's canned water will be found at many Central Oregon events this summer, Tumalo Creek's Bend and Sunriver locations, as well as their Riverbend Park and Park & Float facility and events hosted by Lay It Out Events.