Local breweries’ $1-a-pour fundraising initiatives support nonprofits

PAWS THAT REFRESH: Hillman Beer is one of many Asheville-area breweries taking part in regular $1-a-pour events to raise money for nonprofits. The pet-friendly brewery's September initiative benefited Charlie's Angels Animal Rescue. Photo courtesy of Hillman Beer

According to the N.C. Center for Nonprofits, in Buncombe County alone there are more than 1,700 501(c)(3) organizations. And when it comes to giving to those nonprofits, it can be challenging to know which to support. One easy and enjoyable method that has found great success locally is the $1-per-pour initiative. Breweries identify a worthy nonprofit and set aside $1 from beer pours during a designated period.

Fundraising opportunities

“We’ve been doing monthly benefits for a few years now,” says Lisa Schutz, co-owner of One World Brewing, with locations downtown and in West Asheville. She says that the $1-a-pour program gives the brewery the opportunity to work with not one but many nonprofits. “We change our benefit monthly,” she says. Staff members’ input is part of the selection process. “We choose nonprofits that they are personally passionate about,” Schutz says.

The brewery’s approach to selecting nonprofits means that the beneficiaries of its $1-a-pour programs are diverse. Schutz notes that organizations benefiting from One World’s giving programs include everything from the Africa Healing Exchange (an organization dedicated to ending the cycles of generational trauma both in Rwanda and worldwide) to the Asheville Area Arts Council to the Foothills Conservancy.

Sophie Shelton of the Foothills Conservancy says One World’s $1-a-pour program “has supported our efforts to continue conserving important land and water resources” in the region. To date, the brewery has diverted more than $1,000 to the Morganton-based nonprofit.

In the first four months of 2019, One World has supported the Pink Boots Society, Under One Sky Village, Friends of the Smokies and Our VOICE, raising more than $2,000 in the process.

One World Brewing sometimes designates its Ashevegas Pale Ale as the brew tied to the $1-a-pour fundraisers, but the brewery has many others from which to choose. For fundraising efforts, Schutz says that “we have done both: choosing an already designed beer for the benefit, or making a brand-new beer.”

In early May, One World released its Beer 4 Bloobs, a 4.0% gose style with butterfly pea flower, blueberry, lemon zest and Mosaic hops. One dollar from every pour in May goes toward breast cancer research through the Beer 4 Boobs nonprofit.

Sweet as honey

Catawba Brewing has been using the $1-per-pour fundraiser model for three years now, says the brewery’s marketing director Brian Ivey. “In 2018, we raised more than $10,000 at our South Slope tasting room alone,” he says. That figure doesn’t even include the take from fundraisers held at Catawba’s three other locations.

Ivey says that Catawba has specific areas of focus regarding the nonprofits it chooses to support. “In general,” he says, “we look for organizations and initiatives that benefit the natural environment in Western North Carolina, clean our rivers and trails, and help local people in need.”

Whenever possible, the brewers at Catawba like to apply some creativity to the pairing of beer and fundraising. Ivey says that they look forward to any “opportunity to reinforce the theme of the nonprofit.” Case in point is the Honey Nut Breakfast Milk Stout. Available June 6, the special brew is being made to coincide with a fundraiser for the Center for Honeybee Research. “This is the second year we’ve brewed a honey beer for the CHBR to celebrate their annual Black Jar event,” Ivey says.

Putting out fires

Just east of Biltmore Village, Hillman Beer began its $1-per-pour fundraising program at the start of 2018, focusing on a different nonprofit each month. The brewery’s customary approach is to designate one Monday each month during which a dollar from the sale of each beer poured — as opposed to a specific brew — goes to the designated organization.

“We also recently did two monthlong fundraisers,” says co-owner Brandi Hillman. For those events, a specific beer was chosen, and $1 per every one of those beers poured went to nonprofits. The first was Sierra Nevada’s Fire Relief Fund for California fires; the second was the North Carolina Craft Beverage Museum. In general, Hillman says, the nonprofits are chosen “with the intent of them being in our immediate community, hav[ing] meaning to us and being well rounded [in variety].”

What’s a dollar?

The ongoing success of local breweries’ $1-a-pour fundraising is tied to the effortless nature of charitable giving. People don’t mind paying an extra dollar a glass if they know the money is going toward a good cause. “Downtown, no one bats an eye at the additional price on our benefit beer,” says Schutz. “The ones who recognize [the program]” appreciate it, Hillman says. “People love the fact that all they have to do to donate is to buy a beer,” says Ivey. “It’s easy and rewarding.”

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About Bill Kopp
Author, music journalist, historian, collector, and musician. His first book, "Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon," published by Rowman & Littlefield, is available now. Follow me @the_musoscribe

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