While plenty of people might associate craft beer with quenching one’s thirst, we associate craft beer with much more. A brewery is a community hub where friends and family gather and neighbors meet and exchange ideas; we share craft beer over the same tables as families share dinner. We share gifts and act splendidly and live as one.
Today, we hope to take that energy and use BIFE to call upon breweries to be a beacon in their communities and help the craft beer industry tackle hunger.
We’ve covered countless breweries and craft beer professionals. While it never fails to amaze us how craft breweries and their communities are willing to help others – we know there’s plenty of work to be done in helping the less fortunate fight hunger.
Here are some more ways we can help.
Team Up With Other Craft Beer Professionals
We have an incredible story to share with you out of New Mexico. Local breweries and other businesses are teaming up to help with one of their state’s most significant issues – hunger.
September was Hunger Action Month, so Sierra Blanca Brewing Co in Moriarty teamed up with Steel Bender Brewyard and Second Street Brewery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to brew a special beer for their One for 5 fundraiser. The group will then donate sale proceeds to the Storehouse New Mexico Food Pantry, one of New Mexico’s most significant resources for those in need.
For this year’s special beer, the group crafted their One for 5 hazy pale ale – a pilsner malt that the brewmasters call “light and dry with a great hop presence.” The group secured an exclusive deal with Alberston grocery stores, making it readily available across New Mexico. The One for 5 beer will also be available in taprooms, with a dollar a pint being donated to the Storehouse.
According to the New Mexico Association Foodbanks, 53% of families experience food insecurity – many being single-parent households. Sadly, New Mexico has the unfortunate title of leading the nation in child hunger, but these alarming statistics led the group to create its One for 5 fundraiser three years ago.
In the past two years, the One for 5 effort has raised nearly $24,000 and has helped the Storehouse produce 119,645 meals—a testament to what people in our craft beer communities can accomplish when they strive for something greater.
Partner with a Non-profit
Hunger is an issue that deserves no pretext as to why we should help those in need, but as we all know, the pandemic brought food insecurity into the lives of thousands – even millions – and many for the first time.
Additionally, the restaurant industry, many of which establishments were also breweries, struggled to stay in business. We’ve seen places like Pennsylvania, home to over 400 breweries, do some fantastic things to tackle the hunger issues from the past few years. Professionals, businesses, and non-profits have come together to help others thrive.
To tackle hunger in Pennsylvania, the local craft beer industry has teamed up with Feeding Pennsylvania and PA East for a month-long inaugural fundraising campaign named Hops for Hunger.
“Feeding Pennsylvania strives to find innovative partnerships with businesses across Pennsylvania to raise awareness around hunger issues,” said Jane Clements, Chief Executive Officer of Feeding Pennsylvania.
“Collaborations with organizations like Breweries in PA and PA Eats help to expand our work and raise awareness and funds to ensure that no one in Pennsylvania goes without food,” said Clements.
“Hops for Hunger is so much more than a fundraiser,” says PA Eats Executive Director Jessica Darr. “It’s an opportunity to showcase the state’s incredible brewers, bring communities together and support those in need by helping to deliver valuable Nourish PA nutrition education resources to the nearly 2 million Pennsylvanians facing hunger.”
The inaugural Hops for Hunger events generated community support instantly, combining more than 60,000 followers on Facebook and Instagram: a great launching point for their continued events, specials, and promotions for the Hops for Hunger campaign.
Start a Corporate Charitable Fund
There are all types of brew houses, some bigger than others, with more resources to share and connect with citizens, volunteers, and larger corporations. No matter how big or small a brewhouse might be, it’s still led by people who care about the issues.
Creature Comforts Brewing Co. came together in 2016 with family and friends for their seasonal Get Comfortable Campaign. Creating a social impact strategy, the Get Comfortable Campaign tour targets hunger and poverty in the Athens, Georgia area, using a Clarke County 20-year plan as their guide. By creating a Corporate Charitable Fund, the brewery has the flexibility to raise funds all year round while holding a plethora of different events throughout the year to raise funds.
In 2016, the brewery set an initial goal of $50,000, with their volunteers and staff members fully committed to the “Get Comfortable Campaign.“
Alongside merchandise and their unique Get Comfortable IPA, Get Comfortable glassware, and 100% of tour profits benefit the charity fund, they created partnerships with Athens’ businesses to help market and promote the charity fund. The Creature Comfort Charity Fund raised over $65,000 in its inaugural year and continues to grow.
Organize a Canned Food Drive
We probably all have memories of holding a canned food drive at one time or another in elementary school. This is because it’s simply one of the cheapest and most direct ways to tackle hunger in your local community. The fact is as well, many breweries and brew houses have an empty corner in their taproom where they could quickly start a canned food drive.
But here is a more conventional map for someone who might want to start a canned food drive but doesn’t know where to begin.
- Pick a local group to support within your community.
- Decide how you want to collect canned food.
- Assess your volunteer needs.
- Find a drop-off location or ask to partner with a non-profit for your canned foods drive.
- Recruit and manage volunteers.
- Get the word out, market, partner, collaborate, and volunteer.
- Prepare arrangements for events for the canned food drive in your space.
- Event day.
Socially Conscious Breweries – It’s Good for Business
Let’s be frank, being a socially conscious business in the craft beer industry is good for business. As we look at the world today, patrons are more socially-conscious of where their dollar is going than ever before. And it’s a good thing too. To create change, we must come together and help support those who need it most.
With that being said, with thousands upon thousands of breweries and people looking to support local businesses over larger conglomerates, craft brew professionals have an opportunity to stand out from the rest of the crowd by implementing socially conscious initiatives.
We listed these from above:
- Partner with a Non-profit
- Start a Charitable Fund
- Hold a Canned Food Drive
But here are also some other reasons to support socially conscious initiatives.
Expands the potential market size
Being a socially conscious brewery invites a whole new market for those potential customers who appeal to social contribution. Discerning customers worldwide might identify with the cause you are supporting – especially an epidemic like hunger.
Incentivize customers to pay a premium price
Extending exclusivity can be tricky to balance adding value and supporting as many people as possible. If you do so with low risk while improving profitability, incentivizing customers to pay a premium price means raising more money for your cause.
Increase customer advocacy and loyalty
People want to feel like they are a part of something larger. Bringing a customer on board as an advocate has shown to generate 16 times profitability.
As seen by customers as a competitive edge
If you look at the people around you, you’ll notice people (especially millennials) believe all companies should have a social ethos. It creates a message directly and indirectly to your brand positioning and marketing – this can create a competitive edge with your competitors.
Improves your team’s motivation and productivity
When people work towards a cause they believe in, you’ll find they are more motivated. You can usually find volunteers to help you with canned food drives or other socially conscious initiatives. Good people like to do good – it makes the world go round.
Improves employee retention and attracts better candidates
This one is primarily connected to our last point – but it’s just true. If your craft brewery is recognized as a driving force for good in your community, why wouldn’t your employees want to be a part of that? This also attracts better candidates who wish to join your team’s goals in helping the community.
Provides governance flexibility and grant opportunities
It’s a strange dynamic to want to do things for the money and be socially conscious since you’re raising funds for those in need. This is where the local government can come in and recognize what you’re doing as something more significant than a cash grab. Also, with recognition comes grant opportunities to help further your fundraising and social goals.