How Breweries Give Back

Scenes at the 2017 Colorado Brewer’s Festival in downtown Fort Collins Saturday June 24, 2017.

By: Calvin Obbaatt

Long has been the notion that breweries are about making and selling beers, thus profits; but pause a minute, think of that one picture in your gallery or on your social media account holding a beer, buddies around you, genuine smiles captured so perfect, and tell me you believe a thing about the notion.

  Breweries aren’t simply a major aspect of a region’s culture and identity. The community has always been at the heart of the craft beer movement. Breweries are part of the fabric of their towns, serving as meeting places where people may enjoy a drink and a chat. Many small brewers have discovered methods to make a real influence on their communities beyond just manufacturing and selling beer – through philanthropic donations, sustainability initiatives, community fundraisers and partnering with small local startups. Breweries are also a significant hub for the entertainment and leisure industry, nurturing talent and growth by collaborating with local artists and musicians.

Community Fundraisers

  From time to time, a brewery will create a beer that allows customers to drink while supporting a good cause. Whether through sales of a limited-edition brew or a yearly series of charity beers, breweries often organize community fundraisers that raise money for specified purposes. The fundraisers attract more customers to the brewery and help beer lovers connect to their communities.

Collaboration with Local Startups

  They say no brewery is an island, and we couldn’t agree more. Since time immemorial, breweries have supported local businesses by providing a market for local farm produce used in brewing. Breweries collaborate with the local culinary industry, allowing restaurants, food trucks and other startups to sell their local delicacies during events hosted by the breweries.

Philanthropic Donations

  Financial aid has been one of the most straightforward ways through which breweries give back to their communities. We have been privileged to get to hear about some of the most generous brewery owners that, apart from quenching the thirst of beer lovers, have gone an extra step to make the world a better place through their philanthropic missions.

  Save the World Brewing Company’s story might be worth narrating even in a staunchly “non-alcoholic” church. Under Dave Rathkamp’s leadership, the Texas-based brewery dedicates 100% of its profits to philanthropic causes, supporting numerous organizations including Feed My Starving Children, Meals on Wheels and Habitat for Humanity. Save the World Brewing Company is the first local brewery in the United States to be entirely charitable, with all earnings going to charity.

  Langford, British Columbia-based V2V Black Hops Brewing is among some breweries in Canada that have taken a huge step towards helping challenged groups. The brewery donates a chunk of its income to assisting veterans in settling into the community. Inspired by its veteran founder, the brewery also makes direct donations to fund veteran PTSD therapy programs.

Sustainability Initiatives

  Pollution has hit record highs in the 21st century, and brewers are doing their part to alleviate some of the impacts. Sustainability is a priority in the brewery industry, and several players have been keen to make the world cleaner, better and more ecologically friendly. Many brewers have discovered that reducing their environmental effect may be accomplished in methods other than raising awareness or making donations.

  Many breweries across the world are undergoing significant transformations that aid in curbing environmental pollution. New Belgium Brewery is an excellent example of the rapid transition in the brewing industry to embrace sustainable production. The Colorado-based brewing company has intensified its efforts towards sustainability with active recycling measures dating back as earlier as 2017. The brewery reuses wasted grain, sorts recyclable waste to keep it out of landfills, and composts organic waste. The brewery currently generates enough revenue from the sale of cans, bottles and packaging to recycling factories to cover the wages of four employees.

  Beau’s, an Ontario-based brewery, considers the impact of carbon emissions and the need to track carbon footprints. Inorganic food is currently one of the most significant contributors to emissions, and that is why consuming organic products is at the brewery’s heart. Beau’s Local Organic is Canada’s first beer certified as both organic and carbon neutral. The beer is brewed on renewable energy and uses pure Ontario hops and 100% Quebec malts. Consumers selecting Beau’s Local Organic can rest assured that they are helping combat climate change and lowering their carbon footprint.

Nurturing Art & Music Talents

Through Social Events

  Social events are a place to go and have a good laugh and create memories, but they can also nurture talent. Think of the local jazz band, standup comedian, designer and other talents in your community. It might be surprising that some of them realized their abilities at the local craft brewery. Some found they could sing during that particular karaoke night; another discovered he is good at comedy when he got up during open mic; one came out in an outstanding outfit she made herself that no one could take their eyes off. In one way or another, the brewery has opened numerous opportunities to talented people.

Beer Collaborations

  Beer collaborations bring breweries from different areas together for the common good. The movement has seen these enterprises play an integral role in alleviating social problems. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, breweries continue working together to make one-of-a-kind, limited-edition beers. Some brewers are now collaborating to have a more considerable effect, pairing up to create a beer that helps local charities.

  Aurochs Brewing Company in Emsworth, Pennsylvania and Richbarn Roasters is one such collaboration dedicating a portion of its income to good causes in the community. The renowned coffee maker and brewery teamed up to make the Boondock Sláinte Irish Breakfast Stout to fund good causes in the community. Twelve percent of sales of the brew, made from a blend of American oak chips, custom Brazilian coffee brew, vanilla, millet and buckwheat, goes to a program offering free coffee to homeless shelters so they may utilize their finances for other causes.

  In 2020, as racial abuse and police brutality aimed at people of color reached soaring heights, Weathered Souls Brewing led a nationwide beer partnership to raise awareness about the injustices that people of color experience in the U.S. The brewers inspired others in the industry to each create a version of the “Black is Beautiful” stout and contribute all the profits to organizations that advocate for police reforms or inclusion and equality. The movement surpassed everyone’s anticipation, seeing more than 1,000 breweries, both large and small, from all 50 states and more than 20 countries join the collaboration. This resulted in significant contributions to local, national and worldwide organizations as well as public acknowledgment and commitment to racial justice from thousands of brewers.

  There is an irrefutable trend in the brewing industry that breweries have gone beyond simply serving their beers to serving communities in other ways. Not all breweries achieve this in the same way, however. Some are actively involved in providing relaxing ambiances, promoting local talents through events, collaborating with local startups and advancing the local culture. Others choose the philanthropic route, working alone or in collaboration to make a difference. But, it doesn’t have to be through charitable donations alone to establish that breweries are giving back. Prioritizing sustainability, racial justice, equality and diversity within the brewery walls can have just as positive an impact. The great players above prove that sustainable and profitable businesses that promote good in society can thrive.

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