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About 1/4 Of U.S. Breweries Join Sierra Nevada's Camp Fire Fundraising Effort

Monday, December 17, 2018

Chico, California, is just one town over from Paradise, where the Camp Fire devastated residents, destroyed more than 13,000 homes and killed at least 86 people.

But Chico is also home to Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, which is releasing a special beer, Resilience IPA, to raise money for the victims of the wildfire as the community attempts to rebuild their lives. The company is inviting breweries across the country — and beyond — to join them.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson talks with Sierra Nevada (@SierraNevada) founder and CEO Ken Grossman, who says he hoped 200 breweries would participate in the fundraiser. More than 1,400 have signed up.

Editor’s Note: Sierra Nevada is an underwriter for NPR.

Interview Highlights

On the limited-edition brew

“It’s the Resilience IPA. So, it’s a sort of an older-school IPA using two classic craft hops called Centennial and Cascade. Cascade was one of the hops that we popularized back in the 1980s in our pale ale.”

On inviting other breweries to join in the relief effort

“[W]e’ve had just an amazing response both in the U.S. and from friends in the industry — in Japan and Germany and Italy and New Zealand — have agreed to brew a special batch of beer and donate all the proceeds to a relief fund that we started here in Chico right after the fire started.”

What we have attempted to do is, we did reach out to malt suppliers in the U.S. and Canada and hop growers and suppliers in the U.S., and asked them to hopefully contribute ingredients to the brewers who have agreed to brew the beer. And they’ve been very forthcoming with supplies, so pretty much all the breweries have been reimbursed that want to get reimbursed for malt and hops that they use in the beer, as well as yeast.”

On the Camp Fire’s effects on his community and company

Many of our employees have lost their homes and so we immediately [began] sprawling into gear to help the short-term recovery. We opened our restaurant to anybody impacted for the first week. So people come in and have a meal and a beer on us, and then we did a big Thanksgiving dinner at our facility and we geared up to do Thanksgiving for 2,000 people. And then we started this fund, which will be used for longer term support of getting the community back together. So, we’re right now working with the county and city of Paradise and city of Chico in those areas that are impacted and trying to figure out how best to have resources go to areas that will not be met from FEMA or other government support.”

On the impact he hopes the Resilience IPA will have

“We’re projecting well in excess of $10 million for the project and our brewery is doing about 4,000 barrels of both draft and canned Resilience, which will be released here in the next week or so and that’ll also contribute a significant amount to the funds. So, we’ll have enough money then to really help some people out.”

Ashley Bailey produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Laney Ruckstuhl adapted it for the web.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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