How To Give Back To The Community By Drinking Beer

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best breweries
best breweries
Photo via Wokandapix

For years, breweries have been producing and serving their suds to patrons. Nowadays, they’re taking on an additional role – being philanthropic. Along with donating proceeds to various causes, these best breweries with conscious are organizing charitable events and implementing environmental endeavors within their operations — all while offering guests delicious experiences.

Here are eight breweries — plus three beer-focused tour operators — that give back. Add them to your brew bucket list for the upcoming year!

best breweries
Credit: Roof Brewing Co.

1. Support Baton Rouge Charities With Tin Roof Brewing Co.

Where: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Specializing in “Deep South craft beer,” this Louisiana brewery’s philanthropic outreach within the Baton Rouge community has been ongoing for six years; even doing rotating monthly charitable partnerships with organizations like Toys for Tots and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Association.

Another community-focused initiative of Tin Roof Brewing Co: creating a new stout to aid those impacted by the 2016 floods. Proceeds from the sale of this upcoming stout – anticipated to be unveiled Spring 2017 – will go toward Baton Rouge’s flood relief system. In the meantime, check out their free tours on Fridays and Saturdays.

best breweries
Credit: Sara Fort (Ithaca Beer Company)

2. Get Educated On Suds With Ithaca Beer Company

Where: Finger Lakes, New York

Ithaca Beer Company is worth the trip for their free tours held on weekends — or weekdays by appointment — which put a “101” spin on beer tastings. You’ll learn how to properly sip and savor what’s in your glass, gaining an understanding of how to detect hoppy-ness and differentiate between a stout and a porter.

For a give back twist, the brewery adopted a stretch of Route 13A through the New York State’s Adopt a Highway program two years ago. This route, which leads right to the brewery, gets a good clean up three times a year, with the brewery’s staff conducting a serious trash removal. Moreover, Ithaca Beer Company often sponsors local events, ranging from charity runs and bike rides — like Ithaca AIDS Ride for Life — to community festivals.

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best breweries
Credit: Benford Brewing

3. Promote Your Region With Benford Brewing

Where: Lancaster, South Carolina 

It’s not often easy for breweries to source mainly local ingredients, especially when located in urban areas. Benford Brewing, however, produces 30 barrel batches made with pure spring water sourced right on their small farm.

With a focus on brewing beers with natural ingredients, Benford also supports agriculture methods in other ways. During Summer 2016, the brewery participated in an Ag + Art Tour consisting of self-guided tours of designated farms in South Carolina featuring local artisans and farmer’s markets. Stay tuned for upcoming summer programming!

Benford is also said to be the state’s only agriculturally operated brewery. They work with local beekeepers to source their honey and use local sweet potatoes in their brewing process. As for their beers, Benford’s lineup includes “The Problem Solver,” an Imperial India pale ale; “Southern Tater,” a sweet potato ale; “Irish Honey Ale,” a traditional pale ale with an Irish Twist; and “O’Soo Oyster Stout,” an oatmeal stout.

best breweries
Credit: Save The World Brewing Co.

4. Aid Humanitarian Causes At Save The World Brewing Company

Where: Marble Falls, Texas

Set in Texas Hill County, this brewery was founded by Dave and Quynh Rathkamp, a married couple who ended their medical careers to open this business in 2012. Dave had always loved brewing though, like his wife, also wanted to do something philanthropic. The two decided to turn David’s passion into a business where net profits go to charities that fulfill basic human needs. Through the brewery, the couple supports Food for the Hungry, Meals on Wheels, and, locally, Highland Lakes Habitat for Humanity. As of December 2016, more than $36,000 has gone to these organizations.

What also makes this brewery unique is its operations incorporate a number of sustainable measures, like utilizing solar panels for electricity, capturing and reusing greywater and rainwater, and re-purposing wooden pallets into display cabinets and beer servers.

Touted as the first 100% philanthropic brewery of its kind in the United States, Save The World creates artisan Belgium style ales. The public can attend tours and tastings Fridays and Saturdays.

best breweries
Credit: Foothills Brewing and Visit Winston-Salem

5. Support Water Quality Through Foothills Brewing

Where: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Foothills Brewing values two essential items that support the ongoing growth and vitality of North Carolina’s craft brewery scene: water quality and supporting fellow brewers. With April being North Carolina Beer Month, Foothills Brewing developed two major ongoing initiatives in 2015 to back these causes.

First, the NC Beer Month Challenge offers a “call to action” for local breweries to do anything that benefits their state’s natural water resources. Using the hashtag #NCBeerMonthChallenge, Foothills Brewing encourages participants to post their efforts on social media. Second, Foothills Brewing launched #HopSwap, a program aiding small independent North Carolina brewers making less than 5,000 barrels annually through a barrel swap. This swap started with five brewers, in which each traded a barrel of their beers in exchange for one of Foothills’. Each participant then puts their received barrel in their taproom for serving.

For April 2017, Foothills is going a step further with starting a #HopSwap Half, a half marathon and 5K with a route starting and ending at their pub.

best breweries
Credit: Ex Novo Brewing Company/Facebook

6. Learn About Ex Novo Brewing Company’s Nonprofit Mission

Where: Portland, Oregon

Launched in July 2014 as a non-profit brewery, their slogan is “Drink Beer. Do Good.” It lives up to its motto by donating 100% of its net profits to social good organizations. A few charities they’ve benefitted include the Portland-based Friends of the Children, International Justice Mission, Impact NW (with programs throughout Oregon and in Washington state), and MercyCorps.

As for Ex Novo’s beers, the list includes flagship beers alongside seasonal and one-off brews, with tap, bottle and can selections. They’re all brewed on a 10bbl system made by Practical Fusion, a local Portland manufacturer.

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best breweries
Credit: Braxton Brewing Company / Facebook

7. Encourage Entrepreneurship With Braxton Brewing Company

Where: Covington, Kentucky

In Northern Kentucky, Braxton Brewing Company showcases what’s being called the “taproom of the future.” Along with producing beers with catchy names like “Crank Shaft,” “Dead Blow” and “Kentucky Home,” the space doubles as a morning hub for startups and entrepreneurs, complete with Wi-Fi access.

In honor of its region, the taproom also puts out a pale ale called “Trophy” four times a year, with 5% of sales donated back to the community. Another give-back initiative is providing whole grains to Brewhaus Dog Bones — a nonprofit providing vocational training to young adults with disabilities — for their dog bones.

best breweries
Credit: Brothers Craft Brewing

8. Attend Cask For A Cause At Brothers Craft Brewing

Where: Harrisonburg, Virginia

This Shenandoah Valley region brewery hosts “Cask for a Cause” on the third Friday of every month, where Brothers Craft Brewing partners with a local nonprofit to develop a one-time-only cask beer. During the event, every pint sold goes to the cause. Plus, the organization has the opportunity to be in the taproom the night of the event to provide information to patrons in attendance.

In the last six months they’ve partnered with the East Rockingham Music Boosters, Anicira Veterinary Center, Wild Virginia, RISE of Harrisonburg, Service Dogs of Virginia, Dancing with the Stars of the Burg, and the United Way of Harrisonburg-Rockingham County.

Housed in a former soda bottling plant, the brewery produces mostly stouts and malty beers along with some hoppy ones. Some recommendations include “Twilight Years,” a Black IPA; “The Great Outdoors,” a crisp Virginia pale ale; “Gilt,” a golden sour ale; and “The Adventurer,” a bold double IPA. You can take a tour of the brewery on Saturday afternoons.

Beer-Related Tours

For those that want to take their trek further, consider going on these beer-centered tours: 

best breweries
Credit: Kevin J. Smith

9. Sip While Sailing With Maple Leaf Adventures

Where: British Columbia

Every October, Maple Leaf Adventures hosts a five-day “Craft Beer & Culinary” cruise through the southern Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands region of British Columbia, a hotbed for brewing. The trip introduces attendees to the natural scenery that is said to inspire myriad styles and names of beers like Tofino Brewing Company’s “Kelp Stout” and Driftwood Brewery’s “Fat Tug IPA.” One percent of this tour’s revenue goes toward conservation efforts relating to coastal nature and culture. The trip will involve visits with the region’s brewmasters, shore excursions, and beer-paired meals and snacks aboard the ship.

best breweries
Credit: North Bay Brewery Tours/Facebook

10. Master The Art Of Brewing With North Bay Brewery Tours

Where: Sonoma County, California

It’s one thing to get a taste for what a brewery makes; it’s another to learn how different facets of the production process relate to each other. Founded in February of 2010, North Bay Brewery Tours focuses on how agriculture and environment influence craft brewing. You’ll see the nuts and bolts like water treatment facilities and brewing grains getting turned into livestock feed. There are also presentations on how innovative methods are cutting down on wasting water and energy, while still turning out a quality product. Plus, their transportation fleet operates on a domestic fuel source known as CNG that is said to release fewer emissions.

Which of these 11 #ethical #breweries & #beer tours will you be drinking up in 2017? Share on X
best breweries
Credit: Granite State Growler Tours

11. Uncover Coastal Brewing With Granite State Growler Tours

Where: Portsmouth and Hampton, New Hampshire

Granite State Growler Tours hosts various bus tours, collectively visiting approximately 27 different breweries, distilleries and cider houses. Aside from bringing tour-goers to these locations, guides also discuss the history of beer and brewing in New Hampshire. Its staffers give talks at the American Independence Museum and Discover Portsmouth Center, with the latter helping raise money for Arts in Reach, a program to provide young girls with access to the arts after school. The company has also given over $3,000 in funding to Kickstarter campaigns for local breweries to get established.

What do you think of our best breweries and beer tours that give back? Any to add to the list? 

Further Exploration:

The Beer Bible [Great Reads]

You Need To Know These Groundbreaking Female Brewers & Industry Leaders [Great Reads]

Brooklyn Beer Shop Beer-Making Kit [Brew Fun]

Michele Herrmann

Michele Herrmann splits her time between New England and New York City, and has gotten much better at packing light with her back and forth trips. She has jaunted across Europe and up, down and across the United States and even as far as the South Pacific. She's grateful for being able to dispense travel stories and advice through media outlets and companies (as well as putting her BA in English to good use). Her blog She Is Going Places serves as her way to encourage others to get out and exploring!

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