Leave it to big business to take advantage of the little guy. Or not.
Anheuser-Busch InBev announced over the weekend it would begin producing hand sanitizer to replenish a global supply constantly being scooped up by coronavirus-panicked folks.
From its verified account on Twitter, the biggest beer maker in the world pledged Sunday that its breweries would be manufacturing more than 1 million bottles of sanitizer “to donate to some of the areas most impacted by COVID-19.”
“We have always been committed to being a part of the solution in our communities,” the company said.
We have always been committed to being a part of the solution in our communities. Our breweries around the world are manufacturing 1M+ bottles of hand sanitizer to donate to some of the areas most impacted by COVID-19. For more: https://t.co/BNd3kDp828 #TogetherAtADistance pic.twitter.com/fEHDkfkWWf
— Anheuser-Busch InBev (@abinbev) March 22, 2020
The international conglomerate’s St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch subsidiary — known for its Budweiser beer — shared a similar tweet Saturday with the caption, “It’s in all our hands to make a difference.”
“We have a long history of supporting our communities and employees — this time is no different,” it said. “That’s why we are using our supply and logistics network to begin producing and distributing bottles of hand sanitizer to accommodate the growing needs across the United States.”
We have a long history of supporting our communities and employees – this time is no different. That’s why we are using our supply and logistics network to begin producing and distributing bottles of hand sanitizer to accommodate the growing needs across the United States. pic.twitter.com/nqImcE5WJP
— Anheuser-Busch (@AnheuserBusch) March 22, 2020
In a later tweet, Anheuser-Busch also said it would work with the Red Cross and other nonprofits to figure out where sanitizer is needed most.
This is certainly not the first time the brewery has stepped up during state and national crises.
According to its website, every year Anheuser-Busch temporarily shuts down production at its Fort Collins, Colorado, and Cartersville, Georgia, plants in order to “apply our production and logistics expertise” to can up and distribute safe drinking water to anywhere in the United States that disaster might strike.
Over the years, the brewery has donated millions of cans of drinking water across the United States to areas such as flood-soaked towns in Missouri and Oklahoma, wildfire-ravaged areas of California and the Gulf states targeted by Hurricane Michael.
“Since the inception of our emergency drinking water program in 1988,” the website states, “Anheuser-Busch and our wholesaler partners have worked alongside the American Red Cross to provide 81 million cans of water to U.S. communities affected by natural disasters.”
For the 168-year-old brewer, the coronavirus pandemic offered yet another opportunity to provide assistance, with the company not waiting for government intervention to tell it what to do.
That’s an interesting distinction.
With the push from many on the left to nationalize certain industries — such as presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders’ plans for the power industry — it is no surprise many Democrats are calling on President Donald Trump to use the Defense Production Act amid the coronavirus crisis.
The law grants civil defense and war mobilization powers to the government to order manufacturers to make provisions most in need. The president has been reluctant to invoke its full measure.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Ford, General Motors and Tesla are being given the go ahead to make ventilators and other metal products, FAST! Go for it auto execs, lets see how good you are?”
Ventilators are in high demand in virus-stricken areas such as New York City that are seeing more and more patients with a need for the breathing machines that pump oxygen into patients’ lungs while removing CO2.
Unfortunately for automakers, switching over from car manufacturing to medical ventilators will be a more daunting task, and this after the Food and Drug Administration eased some restrictions for their manufacture.
America is learning several harsh but much-needed lessons during the COVID-19 pandemic — not the least of which is the importance of our private industry manufacturers and their ability to step up and deliver the kinds of crisis provisions necessary to save and protect lives.
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