Amidst record-breaking summer heat, the devastating Lahaina wildfire in Maui resulted in over 100 confirmed deaths and left some 2,000 homes destroyed. In the aftermath, the effort to help those in need and rebuild is daunting. In the days following the disaster, some CPG brands stepped up, leveraging connections to the area and industry heavyweights with a history of delivering water for disaster relief efforts. Here’s how four CPG brands responded:
No stranger to water relief efforts, the brewing conglomerate was called on by the American Red Cross to help provide water to wildfire victims. Anhesuer-Busch shipped 16,000 cans of emergency drinking water to the island to support those recovering from the Lahaina wildfire. The first shipment was delivered by the company’s Hawaii distribution partner, Hawaii Beverage Distribution in Wailuku.
Anhesuer-Busch has partnered with the American Red Cross in disaster relief efforts dating back to 1906. Water for the effort was sourced from its Fort Collins, Colorado brewery, which pauses production periodically throughout the year to can emergency drinking water. Back in 2018, Budweiser made the emergency water relief program the focus of the brand’s Super Bowl ad. According to Anheuser-Busch, in 2022 the company donated more than three million cans of emergency drinking water to communities and volunteer fire departments across 49 states.
San Francisco-based beverage company Hint tied its Maui relief campaign to the flavors of the island. Hint pledged to donate all August 21-August 25 Passionfruit Orange Guava water proceeds to The Maui Strong Fund. (Hint had released their own POG water last October, though the flavor was first concocted in 1971 on Maui by a local business.)
A Hint representative said the company hit its initial goal of $50,000 and committed to donate further proceeds from POG sales to relief efforts. In addition, the brand donated Hint Water to emergency services organizations in the Lahaina area.
Perhaps the most visible of the relief efforts from a CPG brand came from Hormel -- the parent company of SPAM, the ham in a can brand that became a popular staple in Hawaiian food culture thanks to its ubiquity on military bases during World War II. According to the company, Hawaii consumes over seven million cans of SPAM products each year.
Hormel Foods partnered with disaster relief nonprofit Convoy of Hope to deliver more than 264,000 cans of Spam products to those most in need, following the deadly wildfire.
“This donation allows Convoy of Hope to deliver comfort to people whose lives have been turned upside down. Because SPAM does not need refrigeration, it is an ideal product for Convoy to deliver to survivors,” Convoy of Hope Vice President of Disaster Services Stacy Lamb said.
Hormel also created a “SPAM Brand Loves Maui” t-shirt, available for sale on its website, donating 100% of proceeds to Aloha United Way’s Maui Fire Relief Fund.
Hormel team members also raised money to donate to local area food banks, with Hormel Foods promising to match donations. Inclusive of these financial contributions, Hormel Foods claims the SPAM brand’s donations amount to over $1,000,000 in aid based on the retail value of products donated.
Maui Brewing Company
Anhesuer-Busch was not the only brewer to get involved in Maui relief efforts. Maui Brewing Company, Hawaii’s largest craft brewer, launched a multi-pronged effort to support wildlife relief.
The disaster hit especially close to home for the brewery, which opened in Lahaina -- the area hit hardest by wildfires -- in 2005.
While its two Lahaina locations survived the wildfires, many employees and their families were impacted, according to Forbes.
In the immediate aftermath, Maui Brewing set up donation centers at three of its brewery locations in other areas of Hawaii, accepting urgent-need items.
The brewery also launched the Kokua Project, calling on fellow brewers to team up on a collaborative beer release with proceeds going to disaster relief efforts.