In the summer of 1970, my second year as a helper at the Dallas Coors distributor during my college years, Corpus Christi and south Texas were hit by Celia, a category three hurricane. Hurricane Celia, not unlike Hurricane Harvey, hit Corpus directly during the first week of August. Damage, at that time, was estimated at just under one billion dollars. All of Southeast Texas was shut down.
My fraternity big brother, who was from Corpus, had planned his wedding the second week of August in Corpus. Earlier in the summer I had notified Willowbrook, the distributor, that I would need that weekend off to attend the wedding. Than the hurricane hit.
The parents of the bride and groom were able to get the Holiday Inn, which was located on the beach, to open just for the wedding party. Those in the wedding party were allowed to stay on the second floor, as the first floor of the hotel was flooded during the height of the storm. Somehow, perhaps because of the use of a generator, we had electricity at the hotel, where the remainder of the city remained without power.
Since there was no Coors distributed in Southeast Texas, as Coors was only available in North Texas and West Texas, I loaded up my van with Coors and took off for Corpus Christi. The National Guard were on every corner in town because the traffic signals were not functioning. Remains of buildings and palm trees had not been pushed to the sides of some of the major streets, so we had to stop and get clearance from the National Guard at every intersection. It took forever to get through town.
Other than those in the wedding party, the hotel and the beach were desolate. And like all hurricanes, Celia had cleaned all the trash and debris from the beach, which now was pristine. We had the beach to ourselves, and with all that Coors beer, needless to say, the wedding went off without a hitch. While the beer was much appreciated, finding ice to keep it chilled was another challenge.
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the beer industry, has mobilized on all levels, supplying everything from canned water, supplies, clothes, and even donations from all over the country. From ABI to the small craft brewers, all are working hard to help in any way possible to provide relief for those who were caught in Harvey’s wake.
This level of commitment is not a surprise to anyone in the beer industry. Wholesalers and breweries of all sizes have always been the corner stone of community involvement and support. Hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, or simply coming together to help in time of need, it is the beer people who step up again and again, without any hesitation.
When the rebuilding of Southeast Texas is well underway, and all the other groups have returned home, the beer industry will still be there, doing what is necessary to support their respective communities. People can say what they like, but in these times of need, the beer industry steps to the plate, ready to assist. That is what makes this such a great industry.
The hurricane flooded me out of a lot of memorability, but it can’t flood out the memories…