This political season, I’ve had the displeasure of listening to each candidate tell me just how good they will be for our country. “Vote for me and I will make our country better.” they implore It’s all rubbish. Only you and I can make this country better.
The famous words of John F. Kennedy ring true “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country“. Amen.
I believe we make our country better with the individual contributions we all make within our local communities. If we wait for someone else to make things better it will never happen.
Too often help is needed right next door.
It was therefore a pleasure to meet Erin and Ryan from the Witch’s Hat Brewery and see what they are doing for their local community. John and I were equally drawn in and inspired by their genuine interest in helping others. We have been highlighting their charity event at Sommbeer with the hope that it will promote it and perhaps inspire others to help their local community
The following is an excerpt of an interview I had with Ryan in anticipation of their charity event Fury 2016.
David: Hi Ryan. First let me say, Hat’s off to the guy that made this beer, “Sweet Lou”
David: It seems that Craft Brewers are almost expected to give to their community these days. As a brewer, how do you feel about this? It has to require a sizable percentage of your time.
Ryan: As an industry (of craft brewers) we are very giving, we are a community centered business. Even the largest of craft brewers see themselves as the small guy and they give back.
David: Why did you choose to focus on Gleaners Food Bank for the Fury event?
Ryan: Originally Fury only had Gleaners. When we started (Witch’s Hat) we were approached by one of our customers that was active in Gleaners. At the time we were looking for charities and we really liked the ‘feeding hungry people’ aspect of it. That was near and dear to our hearts. It was just Gleaners for Fury to begin with and then Blessings in a Backpack came around. Blessings is “hyper local” and it made sense for us to go that route. We have mug club members that are active in Blessings. They are fantastic in how they give.
Factoid: Kids that live in food insecure homes need food to cover the weekend (when school programs cannot). Blessings in a Backpack, discreetly fills kids backpacks with food so they can take it home.
David: I was really taken with the introduction you and Erin wrote about Fury and how you personally relate to these charities. At our last meeting, you said something that really stuck with me. You said; “I don’t want it to be just about the beer, I want it also to be about the event and charities”. Your concern was having too much focus on the bottle release.
Ryan: Yes, absolutely. While the Fury is definitely about beer we really want to emphasize the charities. A lot of people are coming out for the beer but it’s also about the community and the giving aspect. Fury is about trying all these great beers and your door money goes to a great cause.
Each year Fury grows. Last year we raised over $6,000 and 1,000 pounds in food.
To me that’s the local community with food in hand. We also have great sponsors.
This year we really look forward to even more people attending and hope to further support the charities.
David: Tell us what to expect when we attend the Fury.
Ryan: It’s amazing to watch all these beer fans from all areas of the state of Michigan but also Indiana, Illinois and Ohio come together – and they know each other! It’s like a reunion.
David: It’s kinda creates a melting pot
Ryan: It really does. It’s a lot of fun and we have great music. We have Michigan based bands; Wean cover band, Misfits cover band, Muggs, Stone Clover, Madcat, and Social Bones. Great music and great food. Now that we have changed the ordinance again in South Lyon we can have food trucks again. We are scrambling because of the recent change to find trucks that aren’t already booked.
Factoid: John went to high school with the lead singer (Jeff Sanchez) from the Misfits cover band. Also, John knows everybody.
Ryan: We are going to have over 20 barrel aged beers at this event. The focus has always been Night Fury series. We do all sorts of interesting things to the Night Fury in the barrel and after the barrel. Dragon Tracks, Cookies & Cream, Vanilla Bean and this year we also have some sour, wild barrel aged beers that is kinda new to us. Over 20 barrel aged beers that you can enjoy.
David: Do you buy tickets for this event?
Ryan: No, this is not a ticketed event. The door money goes to the charity. You can give either $5 or $3 and two non-perishable food items. That all goes to the charities. Our sponsors help to offset some of the costs.
David: 20 barrel aged beers sounds really ambitious
Ryan: Ha! I don’t sleep until this event. We plan and think about this event all year.
If our luck turns out we may even have more than 20 barrel aged beers. We will also have a raffle. This year South Lyon Cycle is donating a Detroit Company Bike, in addition we be giving away a lifetime mug club membership.
I hope to see you all at the Fury and if you can’t make it, please tell us about your brewery’s local charity event. John and I would love to visit your hometown.