Lately I’ve been thinking about the expression, “Give ‘til it hurts.” It’s not generally a command I condone, given that it brings to my mind a nefarious pastor guilting his financially struggling flock into giving up their kids’ school books for his wife’s Christmas Cadillac.
But the business owners I list below give new meaning to the phrase. Many alcohol producers, especially the smaller ones, are hurting terribly this year because of the pandemic. But these philanthropists are still giving — giving up profits, giving to others, giving of themselves — despite the greater-than-usual sacrifice.
If you’re buying alcohol this month for the holiday season or for any reason, really, consider sharing your dollars with these businesses. They’ll be sharing them in kind.
Crooked Stave: Former craftbeer.com editor Andy Sparhawk emailed me with a detailed personal story about his very dear, very tall friend Joe, who committed suicide this year after fighting depression for most of his life. Andy, who’s now working with his besties at Crooked Stave after getting laid off by the Brewers Association a few months ago, says that the brewery (whose owners were also close with Joe), has brewed its first batch of Italian-style pilsner, Compagno Alto, to honor their 6’5” Italian buddy and donate its proceeds to the Step Up program Joe helped facilitate for struggling high schoolers. They plan to donate proceeds from the next batch to an as-yet-undetermined suicide prevention program.
Sierra Nevada Brewing: My ex used to say that every time someone drinks a Sierra Pale Ale a puppy gets adopted. He’s not far off. In its latest grand contribution to the world, the California/North Carolina brewery is donating $1 million to fight food insecurity this year using proceeds from sales of its new Dankful IPA. The benevolent brewery will partner with a different non-profit each quarter; so far they’ve given $250,000 to one of my own favorite charities, Chef Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen, which is putting food preparers back to work by making meals for first responders and families adversely affected by COVID.
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Hennessy: After a recent donation of $1 million, the Cognac company has brought its total investment in Unfinished Business — an initiative introduced in June 2020 to help Black, Asian and Latinx owned small businesses with the financial and educational resources needed to surmount COVID — to $4 million. Hip hop performer Nas has pledged to help Hennessy continue raising money for Unfinished Business, which distributed the liquor brand’s first contribution as grants to 1,250 small BIPOC businesses around the country.
Tank Garage Winery – Despite its location in Calistoga, the town that bore the brunt of Napa Valley’s latest horrific wildfires, Tank Garage continues to support all sorts of charitable community programs by donating $1 from every bottle sold from its Tank Cares series to the organization denoted on its label. This year’s new designee — and Giving Tuesday’s featured partner — is the California state parks system; last year the winery raised $20,000 for Black Lives Matter and half-a-dozen other causes.
Drizly: On Giving Tuesday, the alcohol delivery service is donating 10% of all proceeds to Resilient Coders, an organization that builds greater access to the tech economy for youth from traditionally underserved communities by training them for careers as software engineers and linking them to jobs.