Beers for a Cause: Fighting Cancer

Beers and brewery initiatives are frequently aimed at detecting, preventing, and curing cancers. There’s a new one in the mix.

John Holl Apr 20, 2019 - 4 min read

Beers for a Cause: Fighting Cancer Primary Image

Image courtesy of Testicular Cancer Foundation

One of the by-products of the craft-beer movement has been the relationship between breweries and specific medical causes with the aim of helping drinkers’ health. While it might seem that every month is dedicated to raising awareness in specific causes, the boost from beer is important, organizers say, because of the reach that breweries have to consumers, especially ones in the targeted demographics.

For the past decade, Pints for Prostates has been raising the awareness of prostate cancer through events such as the annual Denver Rare Beer Tasting (Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® is the media sponsor of the event) and through specialty bottle caps that are used by breweries each fall.

“Pints for Prostates works to engage men in a conversation about their health in a relaxed and nonthreatening way. By having some fun with a topic they would rather avoid, we are able to reach a population of men who might otherwise ignore traditional health messages,” says Founder Rick Lyke.

Movember, the annual challenge to grow moustaches for men’s health awareness has also found a toehold among breweries, especially ones with a fondness for facial hair. Bringing people together to talk about health issues or getting them in touch with medical professionals over a common pint has been enormously successful and well received at breweries across the country.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and breweries regularly get together, often in conjunction with the Pink Boots Society, to brew special batches of beer where the proceeds go toward breast-cancer research and support.

And now a new initiative was recently announced in conjunction with Testicular Cancer Awareness Month (April). The Testicular Cancer Foundation partnered with New York’s Gun Hill Brewing Company to release Nad & Tad’s Odd Ball Ale. (Nad and Tad are animated characters that are used as educational tools to help men check for signs of testicular cancer. The disease is most prominent in men between the ages of 15 and 34, according to the association.)

The beer is a golden session ale with clementines. At 4.8 percent ABV, it will be available at the brewery’s taproom as well as at several other breweries and bars around New York City.

“We’re happy to be involved,” says Dave Lopez, founder of Gun Hill Brewery. “This is an issue that not a lot of people feel comfortable talking about."

“Breweries are a place that can help foster discussion,” says Lopez. In the case of testicular cancer awareness, the brewery has put up posters, used coasters, and more. It’s not unlike the revolutionary era, he says, where taverns were used as places to convey important messages behind a specific cause. “We’re just taking that model and applying it to cancer.”

John Holl is the author of Drink Beer, Think Beer: Getting to the Bottom of Every Pint, and has worked for both Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and All About Beer Magazine.