O n a recent sunny day outside Flint's Tenacity Brewing, four happy-hour customers drinking IPAs and saisons are playing cornhole, and a mug-club member sipping a Scottish ale is waiting for the fire pit to be stoked. Two other drinkers walk past them and head down to a dock that provides a close-up view of the brown-hued river running behind the brewery. It's the same river that originally supplied Tenacity with the water to make its beers.
If you've even casually followed the news over the past three years, let alone the past few days, you likely associate the Flint River with one of the most troubling civic crises this century. In April 2014, to save money, the Michigan city decided to take its water from the river instead of Lake Huron and created a still-ongoing hell that has affected the entire population of 100,000. The water is potable, but the pipes that draw it into homes and businesses had accumulated years' worth of rust and a governor-appointed manager neglected to invest in corrosion-control treatments. The result (so far): toxic levels of lead and 12 deaths from Legionnaires' disease.
"I think water's going to be, in the long run, something that helps turn Flint around."
"We're on the precipice of prosperity... If the balance isn't right, we won't have done our community right."