A group photo of volunteers at Cheers to Clean Water 2019.
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‘Tapping’ Baltimore’s Beer Scene to Keep Water Clean

Whether you’re an IPA aficionado or a lager lover, clean water is the most important ingredient to a great-tasting beer. That’s why keeping Baltimore’s waterways clean is key. 

With Oktoberfest season in full swing this October, look no further than your favorite watering hole for proof; Baltimore’s beer scene depends on safe, clean, and trash-free water to make the best beers our city has to offer. However, trash and plastic pollution pose problems for our breweries and communities alike.

We decided to tackle trash with Trash Free Maryland by tapping into our love for Baltimore’s beer scene.

Four hands holding and clinking together pint glasses with beer at Cheers to Clean Water 2019.
Volunteers celebrating a trash cleanup well done over drinks at Cheers to Clean Water 2019.


Saying ‘cheers’ to clean water

At Cheers to Clean Water 2019, more than 175 volunteers and nine local breweries worked side-by-side to clean up trash and across the city. Now in its second year, Cheers to Clean Water is hosted by Trash Free Maryland in partnership with Blue Water Baltimore as part of the International Coastal Cleanup.

Unlike most cleanup events, craft beer is front and center. Volunteers 21 and over received drink vouchers for every participating brewery (that’s a lot of free pints for picking up trash). Younger volunteers got a sweet reward in the form of doughnuts (or as some might say, “volunteer fuel”).

“If we want great beer, we need clean water; that’s the main idea we wanted our volunteers to leave with,” said Blue Water Baltimore’s Executive Director, Jenn Aiosa. “Our local breweries prove that our economy, communities, and pint glasses depend on keeping our waterways clean.”

More than 175 volunteers joined this year’s Cheers to Clean Water event, including District 46 Delegate Brook Lierman (left).


The cleanup count

Over then course of a few hours, volunteers collected 197 bags of trash, 54 bags of recyclables, 775 plastic bags and nearly 730 pieces of foam. They also found some especially flashy trash including Christmas decorations, tires, wallets, jewelry, and even an unsigned check for $75. These factoids are more than just data. They impact advocacy efforts at Blue Water Baltimore and Trash Free Maryland alike.

“The data we collected last year bolstered our advocacy efforts to successfully ban foam food service containers in Maryland, as well as our ongoing work on the bag bill currently introduced in Baltimore City,” said Ashley Van Stone, Executive Director of Trash Free Maryland. “Both effective and fun, Cheers to Clean Water allows us to connect with residents on the ground and empower them to think differently about litter prevention.”

“It’s also playing a big role in our work on the recent Baltimore City bag ban proposal. Data from both event will help us make even greater strides in making Maryland trash free.”

Pictured: A woman wearing sunglasses, a grey Under Armour shirt, and yellow gloves holding an unsighed check for $75 found at a cleanup site at Cheers to Clean Water 2019.
Volunteers founds some flash trash, including an unsigned check for $75.


Help protect our waterways (and Happy Hours)

The next time you crack open a cold one, remember that you can help keep our water (and beer) clean. Clean up trash, plant trees, volunteer with us: the options are endless. Cheers!

[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”https://bluewaterbaltimore.org/take-action/” text=”Get Involved” ]


Four hands holding and clinking together pint glasses with beer at Cheers to Clean Water 2019.
Volunteers saying ‘cheers’ to a trash cleanup well done.


Cheers to Clean Water 2019 was made possible with support from MOM’s Organic Market. Special thanks to Baltimore City’s Department of Public Works and the Baltimore Community ToolBank for providing trash disposal and supplies. 

Thank you to all of this year’s breweries!

  • Charm City Meadworks
  • Checkerspot Brewing Co.
  • Diamondback Beer
  • Mobtown Brewing Co.
  • Monument City Brewing Co.
  • Oliver Brewing Co.
  • Peabody Heights Brewing 
  • UNION Craft Brewing
  • Wavery Brewing Co.

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