According to John Couchoud of South Jersey Beer Scene, “The craft brewing community in our state is tight knit and incredibly supportive of each other.” Brewery Strong is certainly evidence of that.
As with so many industries, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the brewing community hard. Rob Callaghan of Tuckahoe Brewing Company had been thinking about ways brewers could band together to make a difference. What originally started out as a simple hashtag created by Callaghan has become a full-on relief effort to assist financially challenged brewery and hospitality workers. Alexis Degan, executive director of the New Jersey Brewers association and board member of Brewery Strong, tells me that via the website, BreweryStrong.org, they are collecting money through T-shirt sales, individual donations, and from members’ All Together beer proceeds. If you haven’t heard of it, All Together is an open source beer recipe fundraiser that was organized by Other Half Brewing. Local brewers make the beer and donate the sales to support hospitality professionals in their community.
Degan has a vision for Brewery Strong that goes beyond the current crisis. She has been thinking about a scholarship fund for brewing professionals for a long time. Using the momentum created by Callaghan and #BreweryStrong, she will realize that goal. There is every indication that the support for Brewery Strong will continue long after the current crisis has passed. “The brewing industry has been floored by the support of our customers,” she said. Degan believes that New Jersey has always had a tendency to be late to get in the game—as we surely have been when it comes to craft beer—but once we get there we tend to stay. Indeed, support for local Jersey breweries hasn’t tapered off at all since the start of the crisis. We take care of our own. So, for now they will focus on COVID-19 relief, but a scholarship program is definitely on the horizon.
How can you help?
So, what can you do to help? Well, for starters, head over to BreweryStrong.org and buy a T-shirt! They have a cool logo created by visual artist Mike Bell and shirts sales have been a great source of seed money for the organization. It’s a great way to show your support.
Using the DONATE NOW button, you can make a straight donation. (Brewery Strong is a registered non-profit organization). If you are a hospitality worker in need of relief please stay tuned. Brewery Strong is working on the application process so check the website regularly.
Want to support the breweries that support Brewery Strong? Degan provided me with a list of breweries that have committed to donating proceeds either of the All Together beer, the T-shirt sales, or other support:
- Icarus Brewing (Lakewood)
- Gusto Brewing (Cape May)
- Flounder Brewing (Hillsborough)
- Carton Brewing (Atlantic Highlands)
- Fort Nonsense (Denville)
- Czig Meister Brewing (Hackettstown)
- Tuckahoe Brewing (Tuckahoe)
- Ship Bottom Brewing (Ship Bottom)
- New Jersey Craft Beer
- South Jersey Beer Scene,
- 7-Mile Brewery (Rio Grande)
- Ludlam Island Brewing (Ocean View)
- Slack Tide Brewing (Cape May Court House)
- Mud Hen Brewing (Wildwood)
- Twin Elephant Brewing (Chatham)
- Axe & Arrow Brewing (Glassboro)
- Atco Brewing (Atco)
- Bradley Brew Project (Bradley Beach)
In addition to Couchoud and Degan, board members include Matthew Czigler, owner of Czig Meister Brewing Company (Hackettstown), Cindy DeRama, owner of Twin Elephant Brewing Company (Chatham), and Alexis Degan, of the New Jersey Brewers Association. Trustee members include Augie Carton of Carton Brewing, Krystle Lockman of Axe and Arrow Brewing, and Mike Kivowitz of New Jersey Craft Beer.