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9 Breweries Brewing and Doing Good

9 Breweries Brewing and Doing Good

Sometimes it feels like craft brewing is more invested in the community than other industries. Where some people are in business to make a quick buck, many brewers seem to start up because they have a genuine desire to improve their communities. They know they’re good at making beer. They know people will pay good money for it. They know they can use that money to help those who don’t have the same means or opportunities. Those are the craft brewers we want to support. Here are nine breweries that give back.

Finnegans Brew Co.

Minneapolis, MN

Finnegans has two things going for it. The first is their Irish Ale, a wildly underappreciated style that’s virtually nonexistent outside of Ireland and a few mediocre lip service brews for a few weeks in March. The second is their policy of giving profits to food banks in their local area, allowing those food banks to work with local farmers to stock up. We all should already know that donations to food banks should exclusively be money, since they’re the ones who know what they need and can get wholesale deals with farmers. Finnegans is just willing to actually act on that knowledge. Right now, their distribution is limited to Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa, but you can also help the cause by buying gear from them around Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day. Link

Ex Novo Brewing

Portland, OR

Ex Novo is another brewery that gives away 100 percent of its profits to worthy causes. Right now their main partners are Friends of the Children, the International Justice Mission, Impact NW, and MercyCorps. These are organizations that work mainly to build stronger communities for the poor by reducing violence, providing support, and, in the case of Friends of the Children, by working with kids to break the cycles that keep communities in poverty and violence. They’re such good charities it’s almost enough to make you feel guilty that you’re getting a healthy buzz from your donations. We say almost because if we don’t drink as much, they won’t get as much. Link

Dogfish Head

Milton, DE

Dogfish Head has really embraced the power of being a nationwide brewery based in the country’s second smallest state. The brewery knows it has the capability to help the entire state of Delaware and consistently does exactly that. Their Beer & Benevolence program helps more than 150 nonprofit organizations every year, from their immediate neighbors in Delaware’s southern county all the way up to co-sponsoring events in the northern city of Wilmington. They’ve worked with the Delaware Nature Society, the Nature Conservancy, the Wilmington Art Loop, the Delaware Historical Society, the local elements of Habitat for Humanity, and a multitude of other organizations. They put thousands of dollars and untold man hours into their charity work and the state is better for it. Link

Center of the Universe Brewing

Ashland, VA

There are two very cool things about the Homefront IPA from Center of the Universe. The first is that the beer is aged on Louisville Sluggers. The second cool thing is where the money spent drinking Homefront IPA goes. All the proceeds are donated to Soldiers’ Angels, a nonprofit that supports active troops and veterans. The organization’s fact sheet reads like the USO’s ultimate wish list, so anything we can do to keep them funded is fine by us. Link

Brothers Craft Brewing

Harrisonburg, VA

One of the cooler things about the craft beer renaissance has been the transformation of breweries into venues. We can’t think of an event we wouldn’t take to a brewery, be it a birthday party, wedding reception, anniversary, or any holiday party. Brothers Craft Brewing seems to recognize this and used it in their slightly different approach to charitable giving, starting what they call Cask for a Cause. On the third Friday of every month, they’ll host a charity or nonprofit in their tasting room, always with a specially brewed cask beer. Usually the nonprofit or charity will have collaborated in some way with Brothers to put their own unique spin on the beer. All proceeds from the sale of the beer go to the cause and a poster is auctioned off to bring in even more money for the event. Link

SweetWater Brewing Company

Atlanta, GA

Water is such an important resource to brewers that they’re among the main industrial forces trying to prevent water pollution and contamination. As a part of that effort, SweetWater Brewing started its own clean water campaign. It’s called Save Our Water and aims to maintain the integrity of the local water supply. Recently, as part of the campaign’s 10th anniversary, they’ve brought five partners onto the campaign, Building Conservation Trust, Ducks Unlimited, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, Trout Unlimited, and the Waterkeeper Alliance. Each of the organizations got $100,000 to support their work and planned events give the public an opportunity to increase that amount. Link

Flying Dog

Frederick, MD

The Chesapeake Bay has been wildly overharvested. Fish, crabs, and oysters have been extracted from the water at such an incredible rate since people started living around the bay, and people are only just starting to realize that’s not a good thing. With Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale, Flying Dog is helping to fund sustainable crabbing in the area. The beer was brewed to support True Blue, an initiative by the state of Maryland that certifies stores and restaurants are serving real Maryland Blue Crab. It’s a huge part of the state economy, as well as a point of pride for many Marylanders, so hopefully True Blue helps make it a responsible industry for years to come. Link

Home of the Brave Brewing Company

Honolulu, HI

There isn’t a charity attached to the Home of the Brave Brewing Company, but there’s one hell of a cause. It’s a bar, brewery, and speakeasy decorated in the style of a WWII USO club and dedicated to educating its patrons about the realities of the Second World War. Each of the beers is inspired by a different event in the war, including the D-Day IPA (the Allied invasion of Europe), Charlie Brown Brown Ale (the time an American and German pilot became post-war friends), the John Finn Golden Mango (named for the first recipient of the Medal of Honor in WWII), and many others. The names might seem a bit cheesy on the surface, but they’re undeniably the perfect starting point for continuing our war-time education. There’s also a museum attached to the brewery, so that’s one more reason to go. Link

Horse Thief Hollow

Chicago, IL

Horse Thief Hollow seems like it took it upon itself to single-handedly prop up their neighborhood of Beverly in Chicago. We get the impression that all their local collaborations, arrangements, and specials have been made as talked-out handshake deals on street corners and cafe tables. They’re fully invested in their community. Plus they’re a huge part of the Beverly Arts Alliance. They’ve turned their own brewery and restaurant walls into an art gallery local artists can use to display and sell their art, brewed specialty beers and mixed cocktails for fundraisers, and do whatever else they can to make sure their neighborhood is healthy, happy, and supplied with high quality beer. Link