It was November last year when Brewgooder launched their Global Gathering campaign. Their mission was to bring together hundreds of breweries across the world to use craft beer help supply clean drinking water to some 100,000 people in need. Breweries would design their own beers and release them at once over the weekend of the UN’s World Water Day on March 22.
That was five months ago; just five. Australia’s devastating bushfire season and the ongoing and fast-developing coronavirus crises might make November feel like a lifetime ago but that’s all it was: five months.
Given all that's happened since, earlier this week, Brewgooder released a statement saying participating breweries needn’t worry if they couldn’t be involved this weekend, or couldn’t raise as much as they planned. But Australian breweries are keeping their commitment to the cause first launched by Scottish-based operation on World Water Day in 2016, one that sees them give all profits to clean water initiatives in Malawi.
Among them is Prancing Pony, the South Australian brewery that’s been involved with an impressive number of fundraisers for bushfire affected members of its own community too.
Having moved their furniture around to create more space so they can meet guidance around social distancing, the team will be tapping their Brewgooder beer, a Bohemian pilsner called PURE, tomorrow. If you can’t make it to the Totness brewshed over the weekend, however, on Monday they're ready to deliver the beer and pizza so anyone in self isolation can still take part.
Corinna Steeb, who founded Prancing Pony along with partner Frank Samson, says even with everything that’s happening in the world, people still need to come together and celebrate good beer for a good cause.
“You’ve just got to continue keeping yourself upbeat,” Corinna says. “And one of the things that makes you feel pretty good is knowing that you’ve done something good. We live on that principle.”
Prancing Pony initially became aware of the Global Gathering thanks to their relationship with the UK’s Purity Brewing, with both breweries making each other’s beers for their respective markets. Corinna says it’s a campaign that connected with the brewery team.
“There’s so many things we take for granted and that other people don’t have; they don’t have clean water or access to any of the luxuries that we take for granted,” she says.
“It immediately resonated with us and we decided we needed to be part of this.”
For their event, the Totness brewery is welcoming Diversity Music Collective into the brewery to showcase their unique approach to world music as the fundraising takes place.
“They have a performance that involves dance and music that encourages positive thoughts – which is perfect,” Corinna says, adding that, while it can be difficult to cut through the onslaught of coronavirus stories, they’re looking forward to welcoming beer fans through the doors across the weekend. She says groups have retained their bookings and points out it’s at times like these that charities matter more than ever.
“The minute something unexpected happens people tighten their belts and charitable accession are often the first thing to go,” Corinna says. “At times like this, we have to not only open our hearts but our wallet as well.”
Prancing Pony aren’t the only brewery raising awareness around cleaner water. On Sunday, Stone & Wood are launching their own beer for the UN’s World Water Day, a summer ale created with treated brewery wastewater called Beer-Water Beer.
In Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Modus Operandi are hosting their own Brewgooder Global Gathering with the launch of the Brewgooder Helles Lager, while they'll also pour Brewgooder beers from of All Inn, Ballistic, Balter, Brouhaha, Fixation, KAIJU!, Lost Palms, Newstead, One Drop, Pirate Life, Revel, Sea Legs, Semi-Pro and Terella, while raffling off merch from Rocky Ridge.
The brewery's head of marketing Jonny Bucknall (above right) says each brewery involved has been working hard to keep the event running smoothly.
“We’ve got a very cool tap showcase from the breweries involved and they’ve all been brilliant getting the beer to us,” he says.
“Everyone talks about the ‘brewing community’ and despite everything that’s going on people have still managed to help out.”
Barring any new government announcements, Modus HQ will be open for the tap showcase tomorrow, with the brewery adding delivery and click and collection options to its online store for those who’d prefer to take part in the Global Gathering at home.
In the Adelaide Hills, Corinna and the team will be at the Pony Brewshed with others keen to take their minds off the current crisis.
“We also think we need to move away from the toilet paper people around us," she says, "and get a different perspective as to where we are at the moment.”
For more on Brewgooder's Global Gathering, head here.