It seems like we keep hearing more and more about breweries that are doing good work in the community. Surly Brewing, based out of Minnesota, is particularly close to my heart, not only because they make my all-time favorite beer, Furious, a super hoppy, but
balanced, American-style IPA, but because of the extensive charity work that they do. Did I mention that they were named Best Brewery in America in 2007? While you can’t yet get Surly in Denver (but that may change soon—Surly has been expanding exponentially), the work Surly does to help local charities is worth noting.
Surly, which calls its charitable arm “Surly Gives a Damn,” has a mission to “tap” the passion and goodwill shared amongst Surly Nation to give back and to support its community. It fulfills this mission in two ways, both of which I have had the pleasure of being involved with. First, they donate beer and other “swag” to local organizations and causes. Just last weekend, Surly donated a package to a silent auction that my husband and I volunteered at for a neighbor’s daughter who has cancer.
In addition to donating its beer, Surly also does a number of community-based charitable events that attract tons of volunteers; in fact, they often have to limit volunteer sign-ups because so many people want in on the great events (ok, and maybe because volunteers usually get a free beer at the end of their shift!). Surly Gives a Damn has packed food at Feed My Starving Children, will be folding blankets at a nonprofit that provides families and individuals transitioning out of homelessness and poverty by providing furniture and household goods, and does blood drives for a local blood bank. It has also organized volunteers to clean up a local bike path, packed food for a food shelf, and made sandwiches for homeless people.
Last night, my husband and I volunteered for another Surly volunteer event: Free Bikes 4 Kidz to prepare donated bikes to be given to local kids for the holidays. Volunteers fixed and cleaned the bikes, made sure the tires were full of air, and wrapped the bikes with ribbons to ready them to be distributed to kids in early December. To date, 5,000 bikes have been donated to Free Bikes 4 Kidz.
In Denver, there is an abundance of similar projects that you can get involved with: Recycle Bicycle accepts donated bikes at any of its donation drop-off spots (Broadway & Mexico Self-Storage; Arapahoe & Holly Self-Storage; any Bicycle Village store; any Tony’s Market), and it also uses volunteers to refurbish the bikes. To date, it has donated over 13,000 bikes to local schools and community centers. And Recycle Bicycle has the support of the local brewing community: If you’ve ever had a New Belgium beer, with its iconic bike logo, it should come as no surprise that they are a supporter of Recycle Bicycle. In fact, last year, New Belgium gave almost a third of its grants to Sensible Transportation/Bike Advocacy.
There is also the Bike Depot, a nonprofit bike shop in Park Hill that works to increase the use of and access to bicycles, promotes safe and bicycle-friendly environments, and advocates for policies that promote bicycle access and use. They are always looking for volunteers to work on bikes (and will even train you!), and they also have an Earn-A-Bike program that allows those in need to exchange volunteer service for credits toward purchasing a bike.
If you are interested in helping on an international scale, Bicycles for Humanity Colorado refurbishes donated bicycles to provide sustainable mobility solutions for rural Africans. Currently, they are collecting and fixing up bikes to send to Namibia. You can drop off used bikes at the following locations: In the metro: Wheatridge Cyclery or Golden Bike Shop; University Cycles or the Sports Garage in Boulder; Pro Cycling in Colorado Springs; or Full Cycle in Boulder and Fort Collins.
If biking’s not your thing, there are a number of local breweries involved in all kinds of charitable work, from education to music to sustainable food. To read more about local breweries and their charitable giving, click here or here to read past Nonprofit Street articles on the topic.