Every American that isn’t a complete idiot knows the story of the Mayflower and its historic landing at Plymouth Rock. The pilgrims that stepped onto shore from that fabled voyage are remembered every Thanksgiving in elementary school plays throughout the country. We remember their funny outfits with the shiny buckle on the hat, even though we don’t know what the buckle was actually for. We remember how the pilgrims worked together with Native Americans to feed everyone over the winter, even though the passengers on the Mayflower didn’t actually get off the boat and start settling until the following spring. We remember how happy and healthy everyone was, even though half of the passengers and crew died that winter. What we don’t teach in school, and therefore don’t really remember, is one of the primary reasons the Mayflower landed where it did – beer. In 1622, two years after the Mayflower’s landing, the book “Mourt’s Relation” was published with the line “We could not now take time for further search or consideration, our victuals being much spent, especially our beer … ” Yes, you read that right: One of the major concerns of the pilgrims was that they ran out of beer. Anyone that has pulled the last, lonely can from a twelve pack knows that feeling. Fortunately, the people at Sunoco are trying to make sure that never has to happen to anyone ever again. In July, Sunoco began a pilot program they are calling the Craft Beer Exchange. The objective is to create beer filling stations, so consumers don’t have to run out of beer. If the pilgrims would have had one of those, they could have landed in Virginia – where they were supposed to end up. The Craft Beer Exchange is currently being tested around the Buffalo, New York area. Twelve Sunoco APlus stores (Sunoco’s convenience store brand) have taps installed with a range of craft beers. Customers can bring in an empty growler and walk away with it filled to the brim with their favorite local brew. Sunoco places a sticker around the lid of the growler, so there is no need to worry about getting a ticket for open container. Beer filling stations are a long-overdue addition to the real world. For as long back as history remembers, people have been drinking beer. It was a staple on long sea voyages because it stores better than plain water. At the turn of the century, it was common for factory workers to have buckets of beer delivered to them for lunch. Yes, you read that right, buckets. We’re not talking about the cheap buckets filled with ice and a pile of bottles that are handed out at bars. We’re talking about galvanized steel buckets with a lid on it filled to the brim with draft beer. In a world where technology is speeding everything along, why is it that you can purchase a 72- ounce soda (diabetes much?) just about anywhere, but finding a good draft beer requires either going to a bar or building a home tap system? Sunoco’s Craft Beer Exchange may just be the answer to our problems. At $7.99 to $16.99 for the equivalent of five craft drafts, depending on the brew, people will be able to enjoy good draft beer in the comfort of their own home and the craft beer industry will see a much deserved boom. Sunoco’s experiment is running for three months, after which they will make their decision on whether it is a keeper. If they do decide to expand the idea, you can expect to see Craft Beer Exchange filling stations in 24 states, including Ohio. Even better, it could jump-start other businesses into offering beer-on-the-go. Currently, Burger King and Starbucks are mulling beer offerings. Others may follow suit, and if Sunoco’s little experiment has legs then you could start to see beer fountains beside soda dispensers in other major gas station chains within the next couple of years. Next time you’re at the bar, looking for something to cheers about, raise a glass to Sunoco. Here’s hoping their experiment is a success.