The state’s breweries, bottle shops and restaurants will join forces during the month of May to raise funds for the USO of North Carolina.
The USO of NC is an independent, 501(c)(3) organization that supports members of the military as well as their families. The organization hoped to garner support from 75 establishments for its inaugural Armed Forces Day Salute for Patriots celebration, but ended up exceeding its goal with more than 80 beer-centric businesses on board, from the mountains to the coast.
Most breweries were eager to offer support according to Tom Klecker, a corporate alliances officer with USO of NC.
“The brewing industry, they’re such philanthropists,” said Klecker. “You’re never going to find a bigger heart than in these individuals.”
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A complete list of participating establishments can be found on the organization’s website at www.northcarolina.uso.org. In Charlotte, these include Blackfinn AmeriPub, Bold Missy Brewery, Legion Brewing Co., Lenny Boy Brewing Co., NoDa Brewing Co., The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Pizza Peel (Cotswold), Red Clay Ciderworks, Rock Bottom Brewery, Sycamore Brewing, Sir Edmond Halley’s, Triple C Brewing, The Unknown Brewing Co. and Wooden Robot Brewery.
Several businesses just outside of Charlotte have also signed on in support, including: Cabarrus Brewing Co. and Twenty-Six Acres Brewing Co. in Concord; Bayne Brewing Co. and D9 Brewing Co. in Cornelius; newly-opened Cavendish Brewing Co. in Gastonia; Carolina Beer Temple, Temple Mojo Growler Shop and Seaboard Taproom & Wine Bar in Matthews; The Barking Duck Brewing Co. in Mint Hill; Southern Range Brewing in Monroe; Ghostface Brewing Co. in Mooresville; and The DreamChaser’s Brewery in Waxhaw.
Most of these businesses will donate a portion of sales sold on Saturday (which is also Armed Forces Day). Some of them have chosen specific beers for the campaign, like Captain James Jack Pilsner at The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery (as savvy Charlotteans know, Saturday is also Meck Dec Day). Seaboard Taproom & Wine Bar in Matthews will take the opportunity to feature two beers from Service Brewing Co., a veteran-owned brewery in Savannah, Ga.
Others, like NoDa Brewing Co. and The DreamChaser’s Brewery, will raise funds on Memorial Day (May 29).
“We did this for Veteran’s Day and it seemed like the perfect thing to do again to remember those that served,” said Suzie Ford, president of NoDa Brewing.
The brewery will open at noon on Memorial Day and will also be releasing Ariana Saison, the first beer from its new sour program.
Funds raised through the campaign will benefit a variety of programs and services at USO of NC, according to Klecker. He noted that the craft beer community has really rallied around the campaign.
“There are two things I can honestly tell you people in this state are passionate about, and that is our military and fresh beer.”
Event of the week
Greystar South End Hops Festival
When: 2-6 p.m. Saturday.
Where: 308 W. Carson Blvd.
What: This fourth annual festival returns to the corner of Mint and Carson with more than 40 breweries in attendance, many of which hail from the Carolinas. In addition to unlimited samples of craft beer, there will also be live cooking demonstrations and a new Blue Blaze Brewing Bier Garten. General admission tickets are $35 plus fees (VIP tickets are sold out). As in previous years, the festival benefits RescuedMe, a local organization which rescues dogs before rehabilitating them and placing them in loving homes. And yes, you can even bring your dog.