Any number of “do-gooder” organizations love to throw stones at the world’s breweries. In its defense, however, the brewing industry as a whole has given billions of dollars to numerous noble causes. Many churches, Turners Clubs, and hundreds of thousands of United Way dollars have grown, thanks to seed monies donated by breweries and their employees. Many great collectables are now available that showcase the many good deeds and civic duties performed by the brewing industry.
For years Anheuser-Busch has supported the Jerry Lewis Labor Day telethon for Muscular Dystrophy. Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. used to be a large sponsor and contributor to the fight against Cerebral Palsy. These two breweries issued various bank-top cans, which were used for collecting donations to these charities at selected retail locations around the country. Anheuser Busch also prints various shamrocks, which can be purchased at retailers for one dollar, with the proceeds going to find a cure for MD.
A “Can”-Do Attitude
On more than a dozen beer cans, the Yuengling Brewery has supported and commemorated the fire departments that serve its home state of Pennsylvania. Years ago, the Henry Ortlieb brewery (located in Philadelphia) raised money for firefighter and coal-miner charities through sales of commemorative beer cans. The Rock Bottom Brewpub chain raises over $75,000 each year for various firefighter charities. Each Rock Bottom pub brews a Fire Chief Ale and monies are raised during a release party and sales of commemorative pint glasses.
During the aftermath of the hurricanes in the Gulf region last year, the Abita Brewery produced Fleur-de-lis Restoration Ale. The brewery donated $1 to the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation for each six-pack sold. A variety of pins, hats and ribbons—all with logos supporting New Orleans—were issued and 100 percent of the net proceeds from these items went to the fund. Each year, Anheuser-Busch and Miller package thousands of cases of clean canned water, which is sent to disaster-relief efforts around the country.
Coasting on Wind Power
The New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, CO receives 100 percent of its energy needs from solar and windmill power. The wind farm in Wyoming has even been commemorated on one of the brewery’s coasters. Another sought-after collectable from New Belgium is its official brewery bike, one of which is awarded to each employee after a full year of employment with the brewery.
For almost 50 years, major brewers have supported container-recycling programs. Coors even made a number of advertising and display pieces using 100 percent recycled aluminum.
Spent grain from the brewing process finds a multitude of new uses. Many pet and animal feeds first started out in the brewhouse. A number of brewpubs use these grains in their breads and rolls baked on site. The Tabernash Brewery of Denver, CO even produced a coaster made from pressed spent grains.
One world-famous collectable, which once was produced and maintained by a brewery, is the Guinness Book of World Records. This publication was originally published to settle many of the arguments that regularly ensue in pubs. A set of identical twins with a passion for record keeping were hired by Arthur Guinness and Sons to compile a complete listing of the records we’ve come to know, such as our favorite beers of choice. This annual manual of minutiae first went on sale in August of 1955.
Beer Dave Gausepohl has collected breweriana since 1974 and has a personal collection of more than 400,000 items. He has visited more than 1,500 breweries and has tasted well over 10,000 different brews from around the world.