I imagine most everyone who reads All About Beer Magazine has somehow been touched by cancer. When this happens, I think most of us simply want to feel like we’re doing something to help. On another Saturday afternoon almost four years later, the answer came to me: beer. I am no great scientist, but I realized that what I could do was bring a beer to market to generate awareness of this disease and raise funds for The Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research, as its director was treating Virginia. She loved the idea, and we decided to base it on our work for Pete’s. We invited him to join the project, and he was thrilled. We called the beer REUNION-A Beer for Hope. With the help of many in the industry, most notably our brewing partner Bison Organic Brewery in Berkeley, CA, we launched the beer during the 2007 San Francisco Beer Week. We each donated our time, expenses and 100 percent of the gross profits. This wasn’t a charity beer for Virginia. It was about Virginia wanting to bring hope to others suffering from this disease, as she knew her time was drawing to a close. The beer was enthusiastically received and inspired donations to IMBCR along with beer profits in excess of $100,000 in our first year. I would love to report that a miracle happened, but sadly I cannot. Virginia passed away on June 4, 2007, at the age of 44. She was thrilled by the success of that first REUNION beer and made me promise that we would continue our efforts to raise funds for IMBCR and bring hope to others. We have done our best to honor Virginia’s wishes. As you read this, we will be preparing to release our sixth REUNION beer with our close friends and brewing partners Shmaltz Brewing and Terrapin Beer. Pete and I remain incredibly grateful to this community for your past support and hope you will continue to make donations—and perhaps raise a toast to Virginia. Together we can make a difference.
Alan Shapiro is founder and president of SBS Imports in Seattle and a founding partner in REUNION Beer. Previously, he was national sales manager for Merchant du Vin Corp. and Pete’s Brewing Co.