Editors’ Picks: Drink Beer, Do Good

Open-source collaborations such as All Together IPA and Black is Beautiful, meant to raise funds and awareness for specific causes, were among the brighter highlights of an otherwise challenging 2020.

Joe Stange Mar 1, 2021 - 6 min read

Editors’ Picks: Drink Beer, Do Good Primary Image

Photo: Courtesy Pure Project

Open-source collaborations such as All Together IPA and Black is Beautiful, meant to raise funds and awareness for specific causes, were among the brighter highlights of an otherwise challenging 2020. We love the idea of doing something we truly enjoy—drinking beer—while simultaneously pitching in to make the world a better place. Here are some examples we’ve noticed recently—by no means an exhaustive list. Chances are, at least one of your nearby breweries is doing something similar for a local cause.

Drink Beer, Keep the Ocean Clean.

In San Diego, sustainability and ecology are an important part of Pure Project’s mission and identity. For example, the brewery is a 1% for the Planet company, which means that 1 percent of all sales (not just profits) go to environmental causes. Recently, the brewery announced a 10-year goal to prevent more than 1 million pounds of plastic from ending up in the ocean. Its Pounds for Pints project is a partnership with Plastic Bank, whose programs pay a premium to people in poverty for collecting discarded plastic in coastal communities. Last year, Pure Project announced that every purchase of a pint of its Murklands Pale Ale would support the collection of two pounds of plastic.

Drink Beer, Feed the Hungry.

This was the third year for a unique collaboration beer called Friends Giving, a “potluck-style IPA” whose proceeds go toward raising money for local food banks. Double Nickel Brewing in Pennsauken, New Jersey, started the project in 2018 with fellow New Jersey breweries Cape May and Tonewood, plus Urban Village in Philadelphia. Those breweries raised more than $200,000 in the first two years of the collaboration. In 2020, more friends joined up: Source Farmhouse Brewery in Colts Neck, New Jersey, plus four breweries in Northern Virginia: Crooked Run, Ocelot, Old Ox, and Solace.

On a national scale, Sierra Nevada recently launched a new “generously hoppy” beer called Dankful IPA, which will support “nonprofits standing up for social equality, economic well-being, and environmental protection.” Its first partner is World Central Kitchen, started by Chef José Andrés to feed needy people in the wake of natural disasters. The brewer has committed to donating at least $1 million of Dankful’s proceeds in 2021.


Drink Beer, Break Down Barriers.

In Baltimore, the Guinness Open Gate Brewery recently announced a $1 million commitment to supporting the city’s black community through a variety of initiatives. These include support for the Job Opportunities Task Force (JOTF), which works to eliminate barriers that prevent low-wage workers from getting better jobs. That initiative will include a series of special-release beers whose proceeds will go to the JOTF, starting with a sweet-potato-pie brown ale due out in early 2021.

Drink Beer, Support Diversity.

Craft beer is available virtually everywhere now. But does it represent everyone? In ownership and on the brew deck, the beer industry is predominantly white and male. A growing number of initiatives are looking to foster a more diverse and welcoming industry.

In Woodbridge, Connecticut, New England Brewing recently announced a partnership with the Connecticut Brewers Guild and Sacred Heart University to establish scholarships for black students to attend Sacred Heart’s Brewing Science program. The goal is to raise $250,000 to support a permanent endowment. The program is one that could serve as a model for other breweries and universities across the country.

Earlier this year, Brooklyn brewmaster Garrett Oliver announced the launch of the Michael James Jackson Foundation for Brewing and Distilling, which also aims to support scholarships for black, indigenous, and people of color.

Based in Florida, the Beer Kulture project to promote greater inclusion and diversity recently announced a trans-Atlantic partnership with Cloudwater Brew of Manchester, England. Proceeds of some beers, including a Festbier and a Märzen, are going to Beer Kulture’s This Ain’t the Beer You’re Used To scholarship fund, which supports online training and Cicerone exams for underrepresented minorities.

Beer Kulture also collaborates with St. Peterburg, Florida’s Green Bench Brewing on a series of beers called Kulture Khronicles—the most recent being Vol. 2, a kellerbier. Proceeds go to Building Beds, a local charity that builds beds and provides bedding for kids in need.

And in Halifax, Nova Scotia, a project called the Change is Brewing Collective has been partnering with local breweries, which commit to donating the proceeds of special collaboration beers. Those proceeds go to local causes as well as basic brewing instruction and a scholarship program.