More than 4,000 homes and nearly 1,000 businesses were damaged in the wake of this summer’s floods in Vermont, which continued for weeks and were cumulatively the most disastrous storms to hit the state in almost 100 years. In cities like Montpelier, Barre, and the surrounding areas where torrential rains hit hardest, many Vermont residents were left without clean drinking water or habitable shelter. Farms, bridges, roads, and major infrastructure across the state have been impacted and will require essential recovery efforts for months to come.
All ways a group to help out when they can, Vermont-based breweries are teaming up to release a new collaborative beer recipe Vermont Strong Pale Ale — proceeds of which will be donated to the Vermont Community Foundation (VCF) in support of flood relief efforts.
“The Vermont Community Foundation does a fantastic job vetting organizations to ensure that donations go to worthy and impactful causes, maximizing the positive impact on the hardest hit communities,” says Karen Lawson, co-owner of Waitsfield-based Lawson’s Finest Liquids. “We’ll look to track donations from Vermont Strong through the Vermont Community Foundations and report back to all participants when the project is complete.”
Participating breweries can use the Vermont Strong Pale Ale recipe developed and provided by Lawson’s Finest, or create their own. The Country Malt Group, Yakima Chief Hops and Champlain Valley Hops have generously offered discounted ingredients for the brewing of Vermont Strong. While the list of collaborators continues to grow, breweries taking part in Vermont Strong include:
- 14th Star Brewing
- Black Flannel Brewing
- Burlington Beer Company
- Dirt Church Brewing Co.
- Drop-In Brewing Company
- Foam Brewers
- Goodwater Brewery
- Lawson’s Finest Liquids
- Long Trail/Harpoon
- Lucy & Howe Brewing Company
- New England Brewing Company (Connecticut)
- Ocelot Brewing Company (Virginia)
- Schilling Beer Co. (New Hampshire)
- Vermont Pub & Brewery
- Zero Gravity Brewery
Vermont Strong is imagined by Lawson’s Finest Liquids, whose team has implemented a multi-pronged approach to disaster recovery since the peak of the storm in mid-July.
The collaboration beer is an extension of the Lawson’s Finest Social Impact Program, The SIP, which has donated more than $2 million to worthwhile causes and community-building efforts since 2018.
“Over the last 15 years, Lawson’s Finest has prioritized giving back, and the impact they have made in our state is truly remarkable,” says Lawson’s Finest Liquids’ newly appointed CEO Adeline Druart. “Vermont Strong is a perfect example of the team’s integrated, creative approach to supporting our community in a time of hardship caused by climate change-related disasters.”
To help aid the community in immediate need following the storms, Lawson’s Finest distributed clean drinking water to surrounding cities and towns, held a food drive in its taproom to support the Barre Food Shelf and made monetary donations to VCF and the Northeast Organic Farming Association for farmers’ relief. Still, Founding Brewer Sean Lawson felt there was another way to further help out in the community.
“Vermont brewers are a tight-knit bunch that care deeply about their communities and readily come together in a crisis,” said Sean Lawson. “We wouldn’t be here without our friends and neighbors in the area, and we’re all heart-broken over the devastation. We’re committed to helping aid in rebuilding efforts for our Brave Little State; and as brewers, one of the best ways we know how to do that is by using beer as a vehicle to bring people together and give back.