Hats off and beers up. American craft breweries deserve a toast for their philanthropy in 2013. They embraced one of craft’s major credos — localism and community support. The other day we ran a post on Deschutes Brewery donating more than $250,000 to charities, which is extremely cool, but they’re a big craft brewery, so what about the small guys? The fine folks at The Mitten Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids, Mich., perked up and emailed us.
Although only a year old, The Mitten Brewing Co. (a vintage baseball-themed microbrewery) told us that they’ve already made a significant impact on the Grand Rapids area by donating more than $29,000 to local nonprofits in 2013. Recognizing that the brewing industry has become a vital part of Grand Rapids, owners Chris Andrus and Max Trierweiler saw an opportunity to give back. It’s just good business.
“Our customers have embraced our efforts wholeheartedly,” Andrus said. “Because of their support, we’ve been able to make contributions to organizations that make a real and measurable difference in our neighborhoods.”
The Mitten Brewing partners with a different area nonprofit organization every month. In addition to donating a portion of its monthly sales, the brewery co-hosts an event with the nonprofit on the last Monday of the month and donates 50 percent of the day’s food sales.
Organizations The Mitten Brewing Co. supported in 2013 included West Michigan Miracle League, Michigan Blood, Make-A-Wish Michigan, Autism Support of Kent County, West Grand Neighborhood Organization, YWCA, Cops Fore Kids, Lori’s Voice, March of Dimes, Side by Side (Hope Network), The Kathy (Rasch) Pavlovic Memorial Scholarship, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Humane Society of West Michigan.
The brewery also paired with several organizations for one-day events, such as a holiday concert fundraiser for Kids’ Food Basket and the Brewer’s Grove Project for Friends of Grand Rapids Park, where it donated $1 for every pint of “Pine Tar Maple IPA” sold.
“We’re really happy with what we were able to do this year,” Trierweiler said. “But it’s not going to stop. In 2014, we plan on mobilizing our staff and mug club members to do more in the community.”