By Sam Wheeler
For Oregon Beer Growler
Riding 1,000 miles in one day on a motorcycle is no easy feat.
It wasn’t supposed to be easy, said 29-year-old Dave Marliave, who rode that distance to raise $8,260 for the National Brain Tumor Society. The co-owner and brewmaster at Corvallis’ Flat Tail Brewing was inspired to push himself through the journey by a member of Oregon’s craft beer community. Angelo De Ieso, founder of the beer blog Brewpublic, was diagnosed with a rare and — for now — incurable brain tumor in 2013.
“It was a weird wakeup call for everybody because Angelo knows everybody, and everybody knows Angelo. It just hit so close to home,” said Marliave, who met De Ieso more than six years ago when Flat Tail was a young 7-barrel operation.
“He gave us some love on his blog and helped spread the word about us when we were just this tiny little brewery that no one had ever heard of. We just kind of kept in touch from that point on,” Marliave said. “Angelo is one of those guys that is just a staple in the [craft beer] community.”
And it’s not just De Ieso’s battle; Marliave has other friends who are living with brain tumors, and there are more than 688,000 throughout the U. S. who face the same challenges, according to the National Brain Tumor Society.
“It’s almost hard to find people who don’t know someone who has been affected by a malignant or benign brain tumor,” Marliave said. “It’s not only one of the fastest-growing types of cancer, but one of the least understood. No one knows what’s causing it. I think it’s really important that we figure it out.”
So on March 29, Marliave took off from Corvallis on his BMW R1200GS to ride as far as he could. With help from the National Brain Tumor Society’s Portland chapter, which created a “Highway to Health” webpage to accept donations, Marliave garnered flat-rate donations and pledges ranging from 10 cents to $1-per-mile for the ride.
Averaging about 56 miles per hour, 18 hours later, he was in San Diego.
“The outpouring of support was incredible, and it was almost all small Oregon breweries and related businesses,” he said. There is a list of donors, including the Flat Tail kitchen staff, which can be found at braintumorcommunity.org.
The trip went rather smoothly, said Marliave, who also received a $500 donation, a set of tires and free technical support from Hansen’s BMW Motorcycles of Medford.
“Doing a long endurance touring-style ride wasn’t new, but the 1,000 miles in a day I had only really done one other time,” Marliave said. “One of the biggest things about doing a ride like this is staying safe. And when you’re getting tired on that 15th, 16th hour — things can get really unsafe, really fast.”
It’s wasn’t until the day after the 1,000-mile ride, on a 500-mile route between San Diego and Petaluma, Calif., that Marliave’s bike started acting up. It was just a little brake noise — something that was determined to be a non-issue after he sent a few cell phone videos to Hansen’s BMW mechanics.
The fundraiser was an enormous success, Marliave said, and he continued to receive donations three-to-four weeks after concluding the ride, which helped Highway to Health surpass its goal of $5,000.
“Not only are we going to do it again, but next year we are setting the goal at $15,000 and hope to clear $20,000. This is definitely something we’re going to keep doing every year, and we’re going to stick with the NBTS,” which will continue to receive 100 percent of the donations.
Anyone who would like to be a part of next year’s fundraiser can contact Marliave at: firstname.lastname@example.org. This year, Flat Tail footed the bill for the entire ride, but Marliave said donations specified for ride expenses will also be accepted in the future.
By Anthony St. Clair
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Two brothers wanted a family-friendly brewery, so they built one. Now, Eugene’s ColdFire Brewing sees itself as a hub for bettering the larger community. Early on the two founders, who are also brothers and dads, made a business commitment to focus on children's nonprofit organizations, and more specifically, children's health organizations.
“We all take our kids to the same schools, pay the same bills, buy groceries locally and spend our recreational time locally,” explains ColdFire co-founder Dan Hughes. “It's the broader sense of being part of a community that drives our business values to extend beyond our walls. It is our duty and our privilege to give back where we can.”
Focusing on children is also a way for ColdFire to express their commitment to the next generation. “We want to invest in a way that makes sense,” says Hughes, “by helping those who will be taking the reins from us someday, and maybe inspire them to do the same.”
Not that “alcohol” and “family-friendly” usually appear in the same sentence — much less the same business plan. Between the lingering legacy of Prohibition, as well as national ad campaigns that aren’t exactly known for focusing on family, beer has gained a bad rep. That association is inaccurate, says Hughes, who was inspired by the family-friendly pub culture of Ireland and Germany.
“European communities know what we are trying to recapture here: family is welcome everywhere,” says Hughes. “People there have vastly different expectations on what's expected at a pub. It's centered around food, music, socialization, and family is a key aspect. We see this changing rapidly here in the U.S., and we are very much a part of it.”
ColdFire backs that up not only with its support of community organizations and causes, but also with the simple nuts and bolts of the brewery: visitors to ColdFire can let their kids romp in a play area while parents enjoy a quiet pint.
The family-friendly culture — and kid-welcoming layout — is part of what brought local nonprofit WellMama to ColdFire. With volunteers providing pregnancy and postpartum mental health support services (including services in Spanish) for moms and their families throughout Lane County, WellMama’s fundraising events with ColdFire and Ninkasi have demonstrated how powerful breweries can be in raising awareness for a good cause. WellMama is also looking at how it can further collaborate with breweries to grow its Reaching All Mothers Initiative to support women in underserved areas and bring everybody in the community together.
“ColdFire presented us with an idea to work together, hang out, have family-friendly community events and see what happens,” says Jessica Schultz, WellMama volunteer coordinator. “The intent was to look for something where we could have families and especially kids welcome at, not just board members or staff. We could get everybody together. ColdFire is particularly family friendly, and that serves our mission of serving families and of helping families be healthier.”
Schultz sees the laid-back atmosphere of a brewery, plus its role as a community melting pot, as key ways to help people overcome social stigmas and personal embarrassment — common barriers that often prevent people from seeking needed services. Schultz also appreciates that craft breweries host local food carts and provide non-alcoholic options, striking a balance of healthy and fun interactions with the community.
“Most of us have had experience with postpartum depression and anxiety, and now we want to reach out to other mamas and help them,” says Schultz. “The breweries create space for people to come, relax, and feel like they can be themselves. They can support WellMama and support other families. The breweries bring that together.”
Dan Hughes sees ColdFire continuing to increase its role in supporting the broader community. Plans for 2017 and onward include more support of organizations such as WellMama, local school events and the nearby Campbell Community Center.
“People love a well-crafted beverage. They enjoy socialization. And they love it even more when they can do these things while supporting a good organization,” says Hughes. “We are building our business’s future, so we build our community’s future through our children.”
By Anthony St. Clair
For the Oregon Beer Growler
From a free bike share program to special brews for community causes, Eugene brewpub Falling Sky is always involved.
“We’re really receptive to any partnership with the community, especially if it’s something that we align interests with,” says co-founder Jason Carriere. “We’re very open and connected to the community. We don’t turn people away.”
Falling Sky supports many causes that are rooted in sustainability and environmentalism. It’s part of what Carriere sees as the cyclical nature of brewing, which is a business that depends on healthy natural resources and agricultural products. “We depend on the ecosystem to provide what we need to make good beer.”
Falling Sky’s commitment to the environment is visible as soon as you walk up to their Pour House & Delicatessen at West Eighth Avenue and Blair Boulevard. Seven bikes are available free of charge (with a $150 deposit on a credit card) for anyone to borrow for up to 24 hours. Falling Sky supplies locks and helmets, and the bikes have built-in lights. Local shop Arriving By Bike keeps the cycles in good repair.
“We have a lot of people who come to Eugene from out of town,” says Carriere. “This has been a good way for them to get around town without too much trouble.” Sometimes people just ride along the nearby riverside bike paths or use the bikes to check out different neighborhoods while looking for housing.
Other Falling Sky programs tend to focus on special days where portions of certain beer sales go to a particular cause. Sometimes Falling Sky also works with nonprofits or other organizations to brew a beer around a specific cause. From initial conversation to rollout, it usually takes four to five weeks to develop a promotion. However, it might take up to two months if there is a beer release involved. “We typically just get together and have a meeting, talking about what they’re interested in,” explains Carriere. “We try to pick (a beer style) that appeals to a broad base of people, so that we can really pump up the beer and the connection with the charity.”
Recent examples have included Tree Line Pale Ale, brewed in support of Friends of Trees, a Northwest nonprofit that plants and cares for urban trees. Falling Sky donated $1 for each Tree Line pint sold, as well as $5 (enough to buy a tree) from sales of a special Friends of Trees T-shirt. In a similar vein, $1 of each pint of Floodplain ESB went to support the McKenzie River Trust, which helps protect area watersheds and critical habitat lands.
After winning an award for best medium-sized transit district in the U.S., Lane Transit District (LTD) reached out to Falling Sky. They collaborated to brew Mash Transit Ale, an English-style pale ale, to publicize and celebrate LTD’s achievement. Purchasing a pint came with a bonus: a free bus ride. Falling Sky also donated $1 of each pint of Mash Transit to Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth.
“We consider mass transit an environmental cause, in terms of keeping cars off the roadway,” explains Carriere. “It encouraged people to ride the bus who don’t often ride the bus.”
Falling Sky community support efforts can also be as simple as a flyer and a one-day deal. By bringing in an organization’s printed flyer or graphic on a smartphone or tablet, a customer can have 25 percent of their purchase donated to the cause.
For larger promotions and support, Falling Sky leverages in-house resources for brewing a special beer, promoting the cause in its locations and across social media, and developing a custom T-shirt. “We’ll do a beer release event where they can come in, set up a table, share information and talk with people,” explains Carriere. “It gives them a platform to get their message out. And when we go out to sell the beer, we also try to bring out promotional materials for the cause too.”
Coming up, Falling Sky is brewing a kolsch to support The Oregon Brewshed® Alliance. It will be released during the week of Earth Day (April 17–23).
“We’re a really small brewery,” says Carriere. “We don’t have a community outreach director or anything like that that some of the larger places have, so we rely on the community to come to us and work with people. Typically (co-founder) Rob Cohen, lead brewer Scott and I sit down with you and figure out what we can do to help.”
Falling Sky Locations
[a] 1334 Oak Alley, Eugene
Pour House and Delicatessen
[a] 790 Blair Boulevard, Eugene
Fermentation Supply Shop
[a] 1331 Willamette St., Eugene
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