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How Breweries Give Back

brewers enjoying a beer together

Highlighting charitable contributions and community support

The craft beer movement has always been about community. Breweries are a fixture of their local communities — gathering places where people can come together to share a drink and a conversation. But many independent breweries go beyond making and selling beer and have found ways to make an impact on their communities in meaningful ways — through charitable giving, sustainability efforts, community fundraising, and more. Keep reading for stories of how craft business owners (and Ekos customers!) give back, which we hope will inspire you to take action and implement these ideas in your own business.

Want to share what your brewery is doing to give back? Post on Twitter or Instagram, tag @Go_Ekos and use the hashtag #breweriesgiveback. You may be featured in an upcoming post!

Direct Donations

One of the most straightforward ways breweries give back is through direct financial donations. Ignite Brewing Company was started by three families who wanted to create a community gathering place and contribute to the local economy of their hometown, Barberton, Ohio. The six owners, who all work part-time at the brewery in addition to their day jobs, had the goal of making beer and making money they can reinvest into the community. Currently, 11% of all proceeds are donated to the Barberton community and customers can feel good that for every pint they buy, they are making a difference.

Taking the idea of charitable giving to the next level is Save the World Brewing Company in Marble Falls, Texas. This local brewery is the first 100% philanthropic brewery in the U.S., meaning that all profits go directly to charity. Some of the organizations that they have supported include Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, Food for the Hungry, and Feed My Starving Children. Owner Dave Rathkamp said, “It’s been said that the root of all evil is the love of money. So, how do you combat the love of money? You simply give it away.”

Beer Collaborations

Collaborations are now commonplace among breweries, who come together with other brewing teams to create unique, limited-edition beers. But, some brewery owners are now using collaborations to make a larger impact, helping to bring together employees and customers from across the country to make amazing beer that directly benefits community organizations. 

In the summer of 2020, during a nationwide reckoning with racism and police brutality against people of color, Weathered Souls Brewing spearheaded a national beer collaboration to raise awareness for the injustices people of color face. The initiative was simple: breweries made their own version of the ‘Black is Beautiful’ stout and donated 100% of the beer’s proceeds to foundations that support police reform efforts or equality and inclusion. The response was larger than anyone could have imagined. To date, more than 1,200 breweries in all 50 states and 22 countries have participated in the collaboration, resulting in meaningful donations to these causes, along with the public recognition and commitment to equality by thousands of brewery employees and owners.

Another smaller, but still impactful, collaboration was born in 2018 when Double Nickel Brewing Company in New Jersey came up with the idea for a Friends Giving collaboration beer and enlisted three other breweries to participate. The idea was to create a “potluck-style” IPA and to donate the profits to organizations that fight food insecurity. Over the past three years, the number of participating breweries has grown and they have collectively raised more than $200,000.

Sustainability

There are so many worthy causes to support, but none may have a greater impact than those that promote a healthier, cleaner, and more environmentally friendly world. Many breweries have realized that there are steps they can take to reduce their environmental impact in ways that go beyond donating money or raising awareness.

Hopworks Urban Brewery was the first Certified B Corp in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. To be a B Corp, businesses must meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. They are also the world’s first Salmon-Safe Certified Brewery, recognized for the work they do to ensure clean water that supports urban and agricultural watersheds. To keep up with Hopworks and all of their sustainability practices, you can download their annual sustainability report, which they’ve released yearly since 2012.

Another sustainability-focused brewery is Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, Virginia. With a slogan like “Brew with a purpose,” their mission is clear. They are Virginia’s first 100% renewable energy-fueled brewery and use a mix of solar, biomass and wind power to produce their beer. Additionally, they make charitable donations to organizations that support sustainability and the environment, including the James River Association and the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation.

There is power in numbers, and when beer lovers come together, there’s no limit to what they can achieve. Whether it’s donations to worthy organizations or small sustainable changes to production processes, it all makes a difference.

If you’d like to share how your business is giving back, post on social media with the hashtag #breweriesgiveback and tag @Go_Ekos so we can share your story!

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Written by Elizabeth