DENTON, Texas – Normally the taps at Denton County Brewing Co. run gold and amber with craft beer. But this week beer is, unfortunately, not the luxury item Austin Ford and his community are looking for – it’s water.
“A pipe burst in our apartment complex. We haven’t had water for two days now,” said Ford, an assistant brewer.
Pipe bursts and frozen pipes have plagued residents of Denton and people throughout Texas since the massive winter storm began. In the last few days, communities and water companies have had to add on boil orders and warnings about water quality due to supply shortages and potential contamination.
However, if you’ve got electric appliances, you can’t boil water without power.
When electricity at the brewery began to stabilize, Ford and his team started boiling water in the massive boilers used to make beer.
On Thursday, people stepped into the brewery with any large containers they could find in their mostly powerless homes. One by one Austin and his staff filled the containers to the brim with water from their tanks, and they didn’t charge for a single ounce.
Ford, along with brewery owner Seth Morgan, decided to do this for free because it’s one way to support their struggling neighbors.
“We said ‘Yeah, this is a great way that we can do something; we can’t really do much else right now,’” said Morgan, “but there’s a lot of people without power and I know Denton would do the same for us and other Texans would do the same for us.”
Other breweries across Texas, as well as other businesses with the capacity to do so, created similar water stations this week for nearby residents in need. Even as the state thaws out and power is restored, water problems have the potential to linger for many.
Repairs to damaged pipes and homes could take longer than usual as repair companies will likely have a backlog in the coming weeks and months.
Ford said he planned to give out as much as 1,700 gallons of water on Thursday, and with the tanks still boiling, he thought the brewery could keep running about ,1000 gallons of water per day - if the need is there.
Ford said so far the neighbors coming in were appreciative of the resource and were making sure it would last.
“Nobody’s taking too much water - everyone’s sharing really nicely, I think,” said Ford.