FOR THE THIRD YEAR IN A ROW, LOCAL BREWERIES HAVE COME TOGETHER TO BREW A COLLABORATION BEER WITH ALL OF THE PROCEEDS GOING TO HELP FIGHT FOOD INSECURITY IN THEIR AREA
A “potluck-style IPA” called Friends Giving, the initiative has raised more than $200,000 over the past two years.
“Friends Giving is our way of turning a little creativity, camaraderie, community, and collaboration into support for families struggling to put food on the table,” says John Dalsey, Marketing Director at Double Nickel.
Originally conceived and founded by Double Nickel Brewing Company of Pennsauken, NJ, in 2018, the original breweries of Cape May Brewing Company (Cape May, NJ), Tonewood Brewing Company (Oaklyn, NJ), and Urban Village Brewing Company (Philadelphia, PA) are joined in this annual initiative by newly added Source Farmhouse Brewery (Colts Neck, NJ), as well as four Northern Virginia breweries: Solace Brewing Company (Sterling, VA), Ocelot Brewing Company (Dulles, VA), Old Ox Brewery (Ashburn, VA), and Crooked Run Brewing (Sterling, VA).
Considering the current global pandemic, the original breweries had been concerned that they may not have been able to undertake the annual initiative this year. However, they quickly realized that the current situation made it that much more important.
“Food insecurity this year is slated to be a much larger issue than in the previous two years,” says Dalsey, “so it was important to us, not only to make sure that Friends Giving would happen again, but also to ensure that it could grow in scope.”
The initiative, originally local to the South Jersey and Philadelphia regions, has now grown to include the Washington DC / Northern Virginia area as well.
“We’ve been planning to grow the initiative for the past year or so, and we thought the best way to do it would be to find another nearby brewery to join us as a host brewery, to do what we’re doing, and come together there to collaborate,” Dalsey says. Head Brewer at Double Nickel, Drew Perry, called upon his contacts in Northern Virginia to join the initiative.
“It was a natural fit,” says Dalsey.
“It’s exciting to find ways to give back,” says Dave Goldman, Head Brewer at Urban Village Brewery. “Beer doesn’t typically help people who are struggling, so when you can use your craft to help people who are, it feels really great to have that opportunity.”
This year’s Friends Giving IPA is the second release under Double Nickel’s non-profit arm, CollaborAid, created to carry on the mission of turning creativity, camaraderie, community, and collaboration into support for local food-insecure families.
“An initiative that began its life as a simple name idea for a beer has developed into something much bigger than we could have ever hoped,” says Brian Needham, Head of Sales at Double Nickel. “Since we first launched Friends Giving and our non-profit CollaborAid, we’ve received overwhelming interest in our mission of fighting food insecurity from other breweries, businesses, and charities. Through CollaborAid we’re able to partner with additional breweries to bring that support and interest together, channeling that energy into support for our mission.”
As in the previous two years, nearly all of the material used to brew the beer — from the malt and hops to the final aluminum cans — have been donated by the suppliers.
“We were extraordinarily gratified to have so many of our suppliers donate ingredients, aluminum cans, and labels to the initiative,” says Perry. “In the end, nearly all of the supplies needed to create this beer were donated in some form or another. “For the third year in a row, Dietz & Watson premium meats and cheeses is making a substantial donation to the cause as well, by contributing food donations equal to the amount raised through the initiative.
“By partnering with Dietz and Watson, this donation will have a much bigger and more meaningful impact by helping to feed even more families in our local communities,” Dalsey said.
The three previous beneficiaries of the initiative, Cathedral Kitchen of Camden, NJ, Philabundance of Philadelphia, PA, and Virtua Health’s Mobile Farmers Market, based in Camden and Burlington counties, are now joined by the Community FoodBank of NJ. With the addition of the four Northern Virginia breweries, Loudoun Hunger Relief, based in Leesburg, VA, will receive the proceeds from the beer brewed at Solace Brewing Company.
“Support from the Friends Giving initiative has a tremendous impact on our ability to use food to change lives,” says Noreen Flewelling, Senior Development Director at Cathedral Kitchen. “Thousands of people will come through our doors this year, and more than half of our guests have been attending our Meal Program for more than two years. Their needs and situations are different but they all have one thing in common: they are all hungry. Support from Friends Giving will enable us to continue to provide nutritious meals and at the same time offer services to help our guests break the cycle of hunger and poverty and improve their lives.”
This is the second year that the Friends Giving initiative has included Virtua Health’s Eat Well Mobile Farmers Market as a beneficiary.
“At its core, Friends Giving is a collaboration that feeds the hungry, which perfectly aligns with Virtua Health’s commitment to providing healthy food options and building community partnerships for sustainable and equitable change,” says April Schetler, Assistant Vice President for Community Health Engagement at Virtua Health. “Philanthropic support from the Friends Giving initiative helps further Virtua Health’s ‘Eat Well’ food access programs, which have supplied local families with nearly 100,000 pounds of food in 2020 alone. This partnership is incredibly important to us as we work to ensure that everyone in our community has access to healthy, affordable, culturally relevant foods.”
The concept of a “potluck IPA” is something that breweries came up with to go along with the Friends Giving theme and requires each brewery to donate an amount of hops without discussing the varieties beforehand.
“Everyone’s really stoked about this year’s brew!” Dalsey says. “The potluck component — not knowing which hops each brewer is bringing — is something that is so unique to this collaboration, it’s really a wild card. It says a lot about the caliber of breweries involved as well as the overall collaborative spirit that is at the heart of this initiative.”
This year’s Friends Giving IPA, a double dry-hopped, 7% ABV IPA, will contain Idaho 7, Idaho 7 Cryo, Sabro, Amarillo, Simcoe, Cashmere, and Citra. The result is a smooth and easy-drinking IPA featuring a soft, straw haze and a fluffy white head with notes of peach, apricot, and tangerine.
Friends Giving will be released at Double Nickel Brewing Co.’s Pennsauken location on October 29th, with limited distribution available throughout New Jersey, the Philadelphia area, Chicagoland, California, Oregon, North Carolina, Florida, and New York, with the Virginia-based Friends Giving seeing distribution throughout Virginia and Washington, D.C.