To conclude the week-long Water Centric City initiative, Good City Brewing hosted a “Beers with the Mayor” event on March 24.

Dan Katt, co-owner of Good City Brewing, welcomed the crowd of more than two hundred to the freshwater capital, otherwise known as Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“We are able to enjoy one of the benefits of having great access to freshwater, and that is great beer,” said Katt. “And Good City Brewing was intentionally located about three blocks from the Great Lakes, just over the hill.”

To show his bipartisan support on this issue, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett borrowed a line from Lee Dreyfus, the former Republican governor of Wisconsin.

“Dreyfus said he didn’t mind if people take water out of Lake Michigan, as long as it is in containers smaller than 16 ounces and it is fermented at the time. And what better place than Good City Brewing to discuss that?” said Mayor Barrett. “So if people want to use our water for that purpose, we are all for it. But we do not want to see any major extractions that violate the Great Lakes Water Compact.”

Water Week was a chance for the City of Milwaukee to showcase all the tremendous work that has been going on around the issue of water resources. The initiative was part of a campaign to keep elevating the profile of the city as a world leader in freshwater science technology.

“Wednesday, March 22 was World Water Day, so we decided to have an entire week of water-based events,” said Erick Shambarger, Sustainability Director of the Environmental Collaboration Office (ECO) for the City of Milwaukee. “We wanted to celebrate water and get people refocused to our water resources, to respect and think about what we have. It helps us demonstrate the city’s leadership with water. We have the Water Council, we have the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences, and the city has played a big role in all of this growth around the water industry. So Water Week has been a launch point for bigger initiatives.”

The week consisted of an Open House on Monday, March 20, at the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences. On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) unveiled their green solution center to show people how to do green infrastructure, at the Global Water Center. On Wednesday, historian John Gurda hosted a first of its kind bus tour showing how Milwaukee’s history was built on water resources. Then on Thursday, there was a group hike along the Milwaukee River. And finally Friday, March 24, saw the closing event at Good City, celebrating one of the original water technologies in Milwaukee, which is brewing.

Additionally, Mayor Barrett proclaimed March 24, 2017, as Cheryl Nenn Day throughout the city. It was well deserved recognition for the many efforts by Neen to protect Milwaukee’s freshwater. Over the years, she has served on various boards and committees that are dedicated to preserving natural resources, including the Milwaukee River Greenway, the Milwaukee Water Commons, Preserve Our Parks, and the Waterkeeper Alliance. Nenn also served with the Milwaukee Riverkeeper since 2003, working tirelessly to improve and advocate for water quality in the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic River Watersheds.

A delegation of Chinese business interests, who had attended other Water Week events, also visited the Good City Brewing event. China has faced a growing water crisis in recent years, as a combination of rapid economic development and drastic population shifts from rural to urban areas have strained its limited resources. The reputation of Milwaukee as a global leader in freshwater study, with the Water Council and the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences, was a distinction that attracted the Chinese business representatives.

What we want to send the message locally, nationally, and internationally, that we are a leader in fresh, clean water. This is the source of life, and we are the stewards of this great resource. We have an obligation to our children and our grandchildren to be good caretakers,” said Mayor Barrett. “I know this is quite a sacrifice to ask everyone to come here to drink beer in honor of Water Week, so I really appreciate you making that sacrifice.”