If you’re lucky enough to have a dog or other pet during self-isolation, they’re likely helping you weather this new era of social distancing, working from home, and ordering all of your dinners and drinks via delivery. But before this coronavirus crisis took over the news cycle, a growing trend was food and beverage companies stepping up to help find homes for dogs — something that’s equally (maybe even more) important now.
Back in November, North Dakota’s Fargo Brewing Company made national headlines by putting photos of adoptable dogs on beer cans. Other small craft breweries have since followed suit. And then, just last month, one of the biggest names in beer jumped on the idea: Coors Light ran a program that helped cover dog adoption fees. Earlier this month, a New York pizzeria received attention for partnering with the Niagara SPCA to put rescue dog flyers on pizza boxes. And now, another well-known beer brand is providing a liquid incentive to help out our canine friends during the COVID-19 outbreak: Busch has launched a new “Foster a Dog, Get Beer” program.
Teaming up with Midwest Animal Rescue & Services (MARS), from March 25th until April 22nd, Busch is offering a free three-month supply of beer to anyone who fosters or adopts a dog from the rescue. (It comes out to about two beers per day, according to the brand.) Of course, pet adoption isn’t necessarily an activity you should undertake explicitly to get free alcohol — but if you’ve been seriously considering adopting a dog anyway, why not get some free beer at the same time?
And perhaps more importantly, the campaign also brings attention to the fact that pets are still looking for homes in these turbulent times. MARS points out that now is actually a great time to adopt a “COVID Buddy” if you’re able to — not just because pets can provide companionship but also because many rescues have been forced to close, putting even more dogs in tough situations. So despite a short staff, the Minneapolis-based MARS is continuing to work through this crisis.
“It’s an unprecedented time in our world right now, and when we saw the stories about animal shelters shutting down we wanted to lend our support,” Daniel Blake, vice president of value brands for Anheuser-Busch InBev, said in an email to Food & Wine. “A lot of Busch drinkers live in the Midwest, so the Midwest Animal Rescue & Services (MARS) was the perfect partner for us. We know our community will get behind us and answer the call.”
Beyond giving adopters free beer, Busch also kicked off the partnership by donating $25,000 to the shelter. If you’re looking for a pet, Busch says that MARS is largely focused on adoptions in the Midwest, but they do have the capabilities to work nationally.