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Brew Print: Craft beer, breweries and charities

A beer fest held recently at Rockslide Brewery to raise money for COPMOBA (Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association).
Kristian Hartter | Special to the Free Press

Charity and craft beer are no strangers, the two cross paths many times each weekend of the summer. Beer has long been a good way to draw a crowd and beer fests are almost always affiliated with nonprofits. From local organizations, like CMU’s Maverick Club and Delaney Donates, to statewide groups, like the Colorado Brewers Guild, and supporting diverse causes, such as the Western Colorado Suicide Prevention Foundation, the Eagle River Watershed Council and Colorado Discover Ability, the amount and regularity with which the craft beer community gives is both respectable and remarkable.

A 2014 report from the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business states that 91 percent of brewers in Colorado participated in charity events, and 93 percent gave to charity, with a total of $1.4 million donated. Our local breweries participate in multiple events throughout the year. Kannah Creek for example raised just over $14,000 in 2014 with their firkin fundraisers alone, and has raised another $18,000 for the MS Society since they opened in 2006. And while these numbers are impressive, consider too that it is not just the brewers themselves that get involved in raising money for the community through craft beer. The Ale House, who does no brewing on-site, also participates in fundraising by hosting their Brew Fest series.

Last year the Ale House decided to give all of the proceeds from their Brew Fest series to the March of Dimes and was able to contribute nearly $12,000. This year they are on track to reach their goal of $15,000. Their last event of the season will be held on Aug. 22. More information is available at http://www.breckbrew.com/events-1/breckenridge-ale-house-beer-festival. When asked how these numbers compare to the other local fundraisers for the March of Dimes throughout the year, March of Dimes area director Terri Jones stated emphatically, “They blow them out of the water.”



For attendees, the charity connection is not always the main reason they show up, and in many cases they have no knowledge of it being a fundraising event. Jones estimates that about half of attendees to the Brew Fests are there to support the charity specifically, and the other half are there to enjoy the beer and atmosphere, but all of them donate to the cause through the admission fee.

By contrast there are some events that are inextricably tied to their nonprofit beneficiary. Radio Daze at Kannah Creek’s Edgewater Brewery is a great example of this. Kannah donates 100 percent of sales of their specially brewed 300 Watt Ale and the event serves as a celebration of 88.1 KAFM community radio with raffles, games and live music as part of the festivities. This year’s Radio Daze event is this Saturday, Aug. 15, and starts at 3 p.m. For more information visit http://www.kafmradio.org/KAFM-Radio-Daze-The-GREAT-KAFM-Raffle.



Craft beer supports the community in ways both big and small. The idea that we can give to a cause while we enjoy some local beer, and good company, is attractive to many of us. The concept that the vast majority of Colorado craft brewers give to nonprofits is one that makes me proud to be a part of that community.

Slainte.

Kristian Hartter is a beer advocate. He has lived in the Grand Valley for 13 years and believes the craft beer culture here has almost unlimited potential. Kristian is the founder of Grand Valley Beer Geeks (find the group on Facebook), the PR officer for the Bookcliff Home Brew Club and the producer/co-host of Beer Geek Radio on KAFM 88.1.


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