Dave Marchant, Adam Engle and Eric Petranchuk sample Griffin’s Golden Ale, a craft brew created by Petranchuk for Full Boar Craft Brewery and Tap Room in North Syracuse. The brewery will debut the ale from 3 to 10 p.m. Friday; $1 from each pint sold will be donated to Griffin’s Guardians.
By Sarah Hall
On Friday evening, craft beer lovers and champions for kids with cancer will come together to celebrate the debut of a new brew.
Griffin’s Golden Ale, crafted by Full Boar Craft Brewery and Tap Room’s Eric Petranchuk, will be feted with a release party from 3 to 10 p.m. at the brewery, located in Maine’s Plaza, 628 S. Main St., North Syracuse. One dollar from each pint sold of the craft beer, made with New York state-grown ingredients, will go to Griffin’s Guardians, a local pediatric cancer charity created in honor of the late Griffin Engle.
“We are inviting all of supporters new and old to stop in to Full Boar,” said Erin Engle, Griffin’s mom and the driving force behind Griffin’s Guardians. “There will be live music, and Griffin’s Guardians will be selling their limited edition Griffin’s Guardians pint glass while supplies last. In addition, we will have literature out about all the amazing programs we provide.”
The launch of the craft brew represents just one more step Griffin’s Guardians has made in its efforts to raise awareness about pediatric cancer and the lack of funding provided to the vast array of kids’ cancers. It’s a fight Erin Engle has undertaken ever since Griffin was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme, an aggressive brain cancer, shortly after his sixth birthday, Aug. 18, 2013. He passed away on Sept. 12, 2014.
In December of that year, in honor of their son and in order to raise awareness about the lack of funding for pediatric cancer, the Engles started Griffin’s Guardians, a nonprofit that has since partnered with St. Baldrick’s, the world’s largest private pediatric cancer research foundation, to create a research grant in Griffin’s honor.
Griffin’s Guardians also helps families fighting pediatric cancer in Central New York. In November of 2016, the organization began working with a pediatric social worker at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital to provide assistance to families undergoing treatment there for pediatric cancer. The nonprofit provides up to $500 for medical, food and transportation costs, and, under the leadership of Griffin’s older sister, offers support to patients’ brothers and sisters through Grace’s Sibling Sunshine.
“In 2017 we helped over 80 local families who heard the devastating words, ‘Your child has cancer,’” Engle said. “We need to continue to support these families and let them know, no one fights alone!”
In order to fund these endeavors, Griffin’s Guardians holds two major events: a Gold Tie Gala every September (this year’s is set for Sept. 22 at the Marriott Downtown Syracuse) and a Team Penalty Kick Soccer Shootout (the 2018 event will take place Friday, June 8; location to be announced). It was at the 2017 Gold Tie Gala that the nonprofit drew the attention of Full Boar owner Dave Marchant, who opened the three-barrel brewhouse with partner and brewmaster Eric Petranchuk in June of 2016. He and his wife were invited to the event by friends who had purchased a table.
“I didn’t know a lot about Griffin’s Guardians at the time. I had heard through different people about the Engles and what they had been through, but we just went as guests,” Marchant said. “I was—I guess inspired is the right word when we were there. It made me think about what I can do and what the brewery can do to help out.”
Engle said that’s one of the goals of the Gold Tie Gala.
“One of our biggest goals for our Gold Tie Gala is to obviously to raise money, as it’s our biggest fundraiser but also it is to inspire our guests,” she said. “It’s about them leaving empowered and asking themselves what they can do to help our cause.”
Ultimately Marchant and Petranchuk came up with the idea of a special brew in Griffin’s honor.
“We came up with the idea of a golden ale, because gold is the color of pediatric cancer,” Marchant said. “I reached out to Erin to see if they were interested, and they were all for it.”
Engle said she and her husband were happy to partner with a local business.
“This was an opportunity to reach more people, to share Griffin’s story and to educate why Griffin’s Guardians is so important in our community,” she said. “Eric and Dave have a large following of supporters and many don’t know about us. This allows us to reach these members of our community, educate them as to why there is a need to raise funds for pediatric cancer.”
The brew, called Griffin’s Golden Ale, is an English golden ale made with New York state malt, donated by the 1886 Malt House in Fulton.
“It’s a mild ale, not too bitter, not too hoppy. We wanted it to appeal to a broader audience, so we didn’t want to go with an IPA or a heavy stout,” Marchant said. “Knowing the people who would be coming to support the charity, we wanted something with more mass appeal.”
Marchant said he hoped the event would bring more attention to the mission of Griffin’s Guardians and to the Engles’ efforts.
“We’re hoping that through a different audience, more people will learn about Griffin’s Guardians and either take an active role or donate money to them,” he said. “As a parent myself, I don’t know how I would handle the same situation. I was really in awe of the strength they’ve had to take the situation and turn it around and make something positive out of it. I felt like anything we could do was important.”
If any businesses would like to sponsor either the 2018 Gold Tie Gala or the 2018 Team Penalty Kick Soccer Shootout, contact Erin Engle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.