Beer Guys: Breweries Up the Ante on Philanthropy

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By Glenn Cutler and Dave Tollefsen

Saturday, June 9, 2018

It’s nothing new to see breweries step up to help a charity or cause.

Festivals have been, and still are, a big way for craft beer to be used to raise funds. The system worked two-fold: craft beer was the enticement to get beer enthusiasts to festivals to generate money for a cause and the breweries get the exposure of their beer to the public. Early on, it was expected that the breweries would donate beer, which would mean more money to the charity.

Donation for a cause is fine but then more and more festivals popped up. The constant requests to donate beer would have you think the brewery’s sole purpose was to brew for donations — but times have changed and bigger and better things have fallen into place to benefit all.

There are still festivals all over the state — bigger and better than ever. The trend of “donate beer” is still around but more festivals are paying for the beer while still raising money for a cause. With the growth and popularity of breweries, though, the philanthropy has now become more focused at their own location. Check out the event listing at a lot of the breweries — “We’re raising money for “XX” — so when you come by and have a pint, we’ll donate $xx to the cause”. The hard part about raising money is getting people involved, but when customers can enjoy a beer AND know that part of the money is going for a cause — it makes it a little bit easier when everyone wins.

Recently the NC Brewers Guild pitted breweries around the state in a fundraising competition for animal shelters statewide. The one-week competition asked the breweries to create a fundraising web page, state the organization receiving the funds and ask for donations — the winner getting 300 pounds of pet food donated to the shelter of their choice.

Often when someone active in the brewing community experiences a tragedy, breweries really step up. Breweries in the Triangle area have been hosting events the last few months to raise money for a local brewer stricken with cancer. Including beer events, there are auctions, raffles, BBQ — whatever it takes to bring people in to help raise money. It goes beyond just friendship when breweries come together for a cause.

Breweries have really upped the ante on philanthropy. Every week you will find some event at a brewery around the state for causes large and small and it doesn’t always involve beer. Breweries have run and cycling clubs, popup shops, cooking and baking events and even concerts — elements that are a great way to raise money and awareness for a cause.

Breweries are destinations for their craft beer and now much more with their efforts to make the world a better place.