More than 1,000 breweries around the country have joined together to brew the same beer and donate all proceeds to help relief efforts for the Camp Fire — the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. In Central New York, Empire Brewing Co., based in Syracuse and Cazenovia, and Prison City Pub and Brewery, based in Auburn, have also joined in the effort and will be brewing the Resilience Butte County Proud IPA in the coming weeks.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, based in Chico, Calif., started the campaign by brewing Resilience on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 27, and will be donating 100 percent of the beer sales to the Camp Fire Relief Fund, which the brewing company started to help fire victims. Sierra Nevada owner Ken Grossman also sent letters to brewers across the U.S. inviting them to join in the effort.
“We are working with malt, hop and yeast suppliers to provide raw ingredient donations to all participating breweries and are asking those breweries to donate 100 percent of their sales to the fund, as well,” Grossman wrote in a post on the Sierra Nevada website. “Our hope is to get Resilience IPA in taprooms all over the country to create a solid start for our community’s future.”
Within two days of the letter going out, more than 1,000 brewers across the country had signed up to help. Sierra Nevada sent all joiners the recipe for Resilience and asked everyone to brew on Nov. 27 if possible, with sales to begin in mid-December.
“The idea is great; for a long time, breweries have done fundraisers like this … but it’s always been a local or regional thing. It’s awesome that Sierra Nevada opened the doors to allow everyone to participate,” said Matthew Ducey, head brewer at Empire’s Syracuse facility. “Plus, they are donating money and donating grain — they’re really donating, it’s not just a PR campaign, it’s very genuine. It’s great to be a part of it; I feel a sense of pride.”
Tim Butler, Empire’s chief of brewing operations, said he heard about the project on Friday, Nov. 23, signed up Empire and received the recipe. “It’s a simple, standard IPA recipe, but if it’s coming from Sierra Nevada you know it’s going to be pretty dialed in,” Butler said. “I think it’s kind of a cool thing that people can go out and taste a beer made from the same recipe in lots of different places and taste the little nuances developed in each system.”
“Resilience — I think it’s a great name,” Butler said.
Empire will begin brewing the Resilience IPA on its seven-barrel small batch system at the Syracuse brewery within the next week or two, with the beer ready to serve on tap around Christmas, Butler said. They will brew about 12 kegs, six kegs each to sell on tap at their Syracuse and Cazenovia locations, he said. “That way we can keep it fresh and go through it relatively quickly.”
In Auburn, Marc Schulz, owner of Prison City Pub and Brewery, said he signed up to participate in the Resilience effort as soon as he heard about it.
“With any crisis that happens in this country, one beautiful thing is when you see people reaching out and lending a hand. We can’t go out to California and help, but if we can brew beer and help somebody, we certainly want to be part of that; it’s just pat of our DNA to give back,” Schulz said. “Sierra Nevada is one of the first craft beers Dawn [my wife] and I drank; this is one of the breweries that turned us on to craft beer, so we obviously feel it’s also as a matter of just respect to this brew that paved the way for us.”
Prison City brewed their batch of Resilience IPA on Nov. 27, and they will tap it for sale in their brew pub in Auburn in two to three weeks. Their brew will be about 8 to 10 kegs, which Schulz expects to net about $6,000 for donation.
“Sierra Nevada is incapable of making bad beer… so were all anticipating that this is going to be delicious,” he said.
In addition to selling the Resilience IPA, Prison City has also posted a link on their Facebook page (facebook.com/prisoncitypub) for people who may like beer but still want to make a monetary donation to the Sierra Nevada Camp Fire Relief Fund.
In addition to recruiting the help of professional breweries, Sierra Nevada has also posted the recipe for Resilience IPA on its website and is encouraging homebrewers to make a batch “in solidarity with Sierra Nevada and pro breweries across the country.
“While we can’t sell our creations and donate the proceeds, please consider donating to the Golden Valley Community Bank Foundation if you are able,” Sierra Nevada posted on its website.
“Even though we are all living moment to moment trying to figure out who is safe and if our homes have been spared, the beauty of the human spirit still shines through,” Grossman wrote.
For more information, visit the Sierra Nevada website at sierranevada.com. For the IPA recipe for homebrewers, visit homebrewersassociation.org/homebrew-recipe/sierra-nevada-resilience-ipa.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.