The characteristics of the craft beer sector, where many of the producers are small companies, make these companies very involved in the community in which they carry out their work. It is common to see artisan producers help in different solidarity actions within their neighborhood or city.
It is also common in the sector to make beers between various producers. They are collaborative beers that are made between two or more manufacturers from the same city or from another locality, community or even country and that are highly appreciated by the expert public.
Following in the wake of these two customs, the coronavirus crisis, with many factories closed or idling , has caused another type of collaboration, economic. There are several initiatives that, alone or with several united breweries, try to contribute their grain of sand to help with various social projects.
More than 50 united breweries
Cobeer19 is one of the most numerous solidarity projects that craft breweries have launched. More than fifty factories have joined together under the umbrella of this initiative.
The project was born from the conversation between David Serrano , from Refu, in the Aran Valley, and Manuel Murillo , from Mala Gissona, in San Sebastían. The germ of the project came out of that talk. "The initial idea was to make a beer during the state of alarm," David explains to EL MUNDO, and donate 19% of the sales of that beer. The difficulties that some breweries face in obtaining certain raw materials gave a twist to the project. Those who can make an ad-hoc beer for this project and those who cannot allocate that percentage of a drink already present in their catalog.
The original idea was extended to an initial group of 19 producers. The word of mouth between the different processors was expanding the initiative until obtaining more than 50 brewers . "We wanted to do an initial group to gain strength," says David. "If we had only been from Refu we would not have reached so many people," he says.
All proceeds from this project will be donated to NGOs, health personnel or other entities. "Each brewery is free to donate to whoever they want, everyone knows their territory," adds David. "The only thing we ask for is total transparency , that each brewer explain how many liters it has made, how much it has collected and to whom it has been given," he explains.
Cantabrian brewer Dougalls, one of the participants, will use the proceeds from beers from its catalog and distribute it among the hospitality businesses in the small town of Lierganes. "Right now the small businesses that have been closed for months are the ones that are most affected," Kike Cacicedo, one of the founders, explains to EL MUNDO. The Catalan Espina de Ferro will donate it to the Igualada Hospital, one of the most affected towns.
The initiative has not set an economic objective because among its participants there are brewers of very different sizes, from brewers with few liters and that only sell locally to brewers present throughout the national territory and that export part of their production. "It is not just a matter of quantity, it is about will and solidarity," says David. "We want to send a message, that the sector is united, that beer is culture and raise awareness among the final consumer that more than ever it is necessary to consume local," he adds.
The beers made for the occasion will be available 5 days after the opening of the restaurant shops and can be identified because they will bear a seal that certifies their participation .
Brewers can join this project until the end of May, the deadline to be able to make that specific beer. Later, the project will not continue, although it may be the germ of future collaborations of an active group that are already formed by the Refu, Laugar, Cierzo and Mala Gissona breweries. "We have shown that we are able to come together and put ideas on the table," adds David.
Help bars and shops
Another collaborative project in which a group of brewers has joined is BarisBack. The idea comes from the BrewHub that Mahou has in his factory in Córdoba, where craft brewers can make their beers.
Thirteen BrewHub brewers have teamed up to jointly craft a recipe and donate it to shops and hospitality venues free of charge. The factories are spread throughout the national territory and brewers of different sizes participate.
The whole process has been done electronically due to the restrictions of the alarm state. "Through virtual meetings we have decided on the style of beer and other things," explains Óscar Cascallana de Mustache, one of the participants.
The person in charge of preparing it physically at the facilities will be the BrewHub team led by Javier Aldea . In total, 50 hectoliters will be produced to be distributed equally among the 13 participants, so they will touch about 850 cans of 44cl each. These will be in charge of distributing them free of charge to their clients.
Mustache, who also donates 30% of the sales of his website, will distribute a box among the bars and restaurants with which he normally works. Economically it is not a significant injection, but "it is a boost, that is, 'hey, count on us,'" he says. "Between all of us, with small details, small gestures, we are trying to get ahead," adds Cascallana.
Help even if you are small
Small brewers are also putting their grain of sand. This is the case of Oso Brew, a small production company in Madrid founded by David Ross and Patrick Tuck , two Englishmen living in the capital of Spain.
Its brewery, which does not have its own factory, has decided to donate 50% of the sales of its beers to the Raíces Foundation , an NGO that helps the integration of adolescents and young people who are in situations of inequality or risk of social exclusion. "The craft sector is very committed to the community we are in and we are working to make everyone stronger," Ross explains about supporting this NGO.
Although Oso is a very small company, his intention has always been to allocate part of his funds to help . The coronavirus crisis has been one of the first opportunities in which this philosophy can be put into practice. "From the beginning of the project we want to give a percentage of our income to help people," explains David. "It is very important for the country that these people get ahead, if we leave people without hope and without work it is very difficult for them to get ahead."
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Its collection capacity is limited since its production is small, but any help is welcome. "The only thing we have to help is beer," he explains. "The beer is already made and we have paid for it. The money is important because it serves to help with what they need," he adds.
The objective of his 'Craft against Covid' campaign is to raise 2,000 euros, not just with 50% of the sale of his own beers. They also donate 15% of the sales of beers from other brands that they offer through their website, such as a pack of Madrid beers, and they are preparing a raffle for those who do not want to buy beer but do help.
Their plans to open a factory have been waiting for the covid-19 crisis to be resolved, but both Ross and his partner are clear that when they have their own factory they will continue to help. "The sector can offer help because it is growing, we have to give opportunities to everyone:" At the moment it is the only thing we can do and we think it is important, but when we have our own factory we will be able to help more, "adds Ross.
The beer at 20.00
Every day at 20.00 thousands of Spaniards have come out onto the balcony to thank the health workers and other essential sectors for their work. Collecting that spirit, La Virgen beers have brewed a beer dedicated to all of them. Named 8 PM, it is a tribute to "his tireless fight against the coronavirus, his professionalism and dedication that they have shown in these difficult times."
The brewery, which has already participated in other solidarity initiatives such as chef José Andrés' World Central Kitchen , plans to produce 6,000 liters, which it will sell exclusively through its website, sales that will go entirely to programs to fight the virus and help for consequences of the Covid. The beer will not only be brewed in 2020, it will also be produced every year during the months of April and May. In this first edition, between 12,000 and 15,000 euros will be raised.
The first reed
Bars are the part of this sector that has suffered the most during the state of alarm. Virtually all of the craft beer venues have had to close during the state of alarm, and those with home delivery or pick-up service can be counted on the fingers.
In the spirit of helping these venues, Street Experience, a company led by the Barbosa brothers and specialized in beer events, has launched #Volveremosabrindar, a campaign to help them when they can finally open. Together with the Bangarang tattoo studio, they have designed a T-shirt whose proceeds will be spent 25% to pay for the first rod in the bar that the client has selected.
The establishments where you can taste this first pint are eight premises specialized in craft beer in the Community of Madrid.
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