Unprecedented winter weather is covering most of the United States, but Texas has borne the brunt. The Lone Star State, which usually enjoys mild winters, has been colder than Anchorage, Alaska this week, and the effects are brutal. Freezing temperatures and inches of snow left millions of Texans without power, heat or water for more than 24 hours.
The situation has been bleak for days, with most restaurants and grocery stores having to close. While the state and federal governments rally to provide emergency relief, millions are still left cold, hungry and (literally) in the dark. In the depths of the crisis, an unlikely hero emerged: Deep Eddy Vodka.
On Monday morning, the Austin-based vodka company posted to their Instagram “Austin, we want to help. Please DM us if you or anybody you know is in dire need of help right now. A lot of us are without power as well but we want to help any way we can. Any local restaurants, business, or individuals with resources and are willing to help, please reach out to us.”
Over the next few hours, they purchased over 1,100 meals from local businesses, available to anyone in need. They bought 350 pizzas, 300 burgers, 200 Chinese meals and 250 stews from venues around the city, providing valuable resources to struggling restaurants and supporting the local community. According to their last Instagram Story, they’re not finished yet.
What’s the lesson here for operators at large? Well, it’s just good business. In addition to being genuinely kind, Deep Eddy’s gesture was a brilliant move for the brand. Their willingness to help Texans in need has touched the local community (after all, there’s nothing Texas loves more than Texas). Their page has dozens of glowing comments. “This post has made me a customer for life”, commented one user; “this made me a follower. I am so proud of Deep Eddy Vodka as a business for supporting the locals,” writes another.
Their kindness in a moment of need won’t be forgotten. And it’s worth noting that Deep Eddy wasn’t alone in their generosity. Other venues across the city did their best to support the community safely, whether that meant leaving essential items outside for people to pick up or cooking up meals to give away.
Each of these venues has been met with warm responses and pledges of allegiance. It just reinforces something I’ve long believed: when you support the community, they will support you right back. Restaurants, bars, distilleries and taprooms – nothing exists in a vacuum. Enmesh yourself in the place that you are, become an integral part of the social fabric and you’ll earn customers for life. When the tide turns (and it will), it’s those same customers that will come out to support those who supported them. This is the beauty and the responsibility of being in, and of, a community.