Help From Afar

January 16, 2020, by Will Ziebell

Help From Afar

In recent weeks, Australia’s bushfires have been a focus for international audiences with coverage regularly making it onto the front pages of newspapers and leading the evening news in many countries.

It’s seen fundraising campaigns held throughout the world with breweries and bars among those quick to reach out to their communities.

It means that this coming weekend there aren't just events taking place in every state and territory as part of Beer For Bushfire Relief but you could also walk into a bar in Auckland or a brewery in Denver to raise money. And, even though it's only been launched in the past week, breweries from several continents have already signed up to brew the Resilience Beer.

Some international efforts – and, indeed, brews – predate this too, particularly from those with a close affinity with Australia.  

David Spargo is an Australian living in London who got a job running events and media for Old Street Brewery in Bethnal Green after following his ears.

“The first time I walked through the doors [they were playing] Camp Cope over the speakers and I instantly knew this is my kind of place,” he says.


Dave (far left) and other Australians in the UK appearing on the BBC talking about their bushfire relief efforts.


Old Street Brewery (pictured at top of article) have been collecting donations, running raffles and even put on a scavenger hunt to raise money; David has organised a few events for the coming weeks too.

Across Australia Day weekend, the brewery is donating ten percent from beer sales to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund and, in February, Too Damn Hot! will see beer sales and door fees go to bushfire relief. David also moderates a Facebook page for Australians and New Zealanders living in London and recently appeared on the BBC to talk about Australians' fundraising efforts in the UK.

“As an Australian living in London, but also as a qualified social worker, I feel quite helpless being on the other side of the world,” he says. “This is my way of contributing to help those back home: we have a platform to raise funds so I plan to do all that I can to help those in need.”

“I hope to raise further awareness in the UK community of what’s happening back home. The fires started in September and only started getting a bit of international coverage in late December.”

Argentina might not have the same antipodean population as the UK but there too local brewers have been raising money. Dos Dingos and Peñón del Águila came together to brew a session IPA – with Galaxy, Enigma, Ella and Vic Secret hops, of course – to raise money for Wildlife Victoria.


Dos Dingos during a previous brew day with Melbourne's Bonehead Brewery


Dos Dingos are based in Buenos Aires, founded two years ago by Matias Cavanna and Nico Raiber, after they’d spent close to a decade in Australia. The two dingos' kids were born in Australia, hold dual nationality, and Matias says he and Nico wanted to lend their support for their second home.

We had a natural obligation to give something back to the land that gave us all, especially in such a time of need,” Matias says.

Matias says Australia’s ongoing bushfire crisis has been all over the Argentinian news, with smoke clouds reaching their skies and turning their sunsets a a similar shade to those that have become a far too familiar sight for many Australians.

“Every day, on every asado, people are talking about them,” Matias says. “For us, with an Aussie background, we get questions asked every day on how are our mates back in Australia are and questions regarding fauna, flora and impact.”


One of the Instagram shots from the collab brew day as they raided their supply of Aussie hops.


The session IPA will be distributed nationally in Argentina, with Matias saying they wanted to raise as much awareness as they possibly could.

We realised this way we could exponentially increase both funds for donations and also awareness on climate change by joining forces with our mates from Peñón del Águila and brewing a beer for this.”

For more on Beer For Bushfire Relief events this coming weekend, head here. Any brewers wanting to register for the global Resilience Beer brew – and you're all welcome – can find out more here.

Dos Dingos featured in an Aussie Exports article we ran on the site last year.

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