15 Feb 2nd House That Beer Built Becomes Premiere Indiana Craft Beer Charitable Cause
The recent fires in California were horrific, but the coming together of craft beer all over the country was a sight to behold. Over 1500 breweries across the US brewed the Resilience Butte County Proud IPA, with all proceeds going to help victims of the fires. Sierra Nevada Brewing states that they may pass their $15 million projection for funds generated by this beer.
Other beers have been brewed with charity in mind as well. There are beers that help fund trail coalitions, beers whose profits aid in coastal and waterway preservation, and even one for jazz education (*see at bottom for more on Brother Thelonious). This is a great thing, and it’s just another reminder of how connected craft breweries are to their communities.
But I can do you one better; giving is even more personal and connected when time and physical effort are included in the gift. When breweries donate money it is absolutely wonderful, and many projects in local communities thrive on that kind of support. But how about when breweries and craft beer fans alike roll up their sleeves and get to work to help the cause?
Just such a project is entering its second year in central Indiana. The House That Beer Built (HTBB) had an amazingly successful first effort in 2018, with a family working and paying their way to home ownership in Boone County. Habitat for Humanity of Boone County (HFHBC), in conjunction with several central region breweries succeeded in meeting their goal of $90,000 toward the financing and construction of the first HTBB. This year the goal is to raise $95,000, making this the largest single charitable project for craft beer in the state.
So far this year, HTBB has raised $13,000 toward their goal; wouldn’t it be great to complete the fundraising even before the build schedule has begun? The fundraising takes many forms, from corporate partners, to in-kind donations by craft breweries of product, time, and space for events, to other groups for marketing or booths. The list for the 2019 House that Beer Built is substantial, and they deserve to be recognized. On the corporate side, Onebridge, Becknell Industrial, The Peterson Company, Burrus & Sease LLP, Cushman and Wakefield, UBS/Promus Wealth Management, Meyer Najem Construction, and Gaylor Electric are all involved.
On the craft beer side, there are also many partners, including Moontown Brewing, Centerpoint Brewing, Upland Brewing, Sun King Brewery, Bier Brewery, Cobblestone Zionsville, Rush on Main, Traders Brewing, People’s Brewing, Grand Junction Brewing, Fischer Farms, the Brewers of Indiana Guild, and even little ol’ Indiana On Tap.
HTBB has participated in, or will be participating in, several craft beer events around central Indiana. These have included the recent Winterfest hosted by the Brewers of Indiana Guild, and the Indiana On Tap Savor Lebanon event at the Boone County Fairgrounds this past weekend. Look for the HTBB booth this coming weekend at the Frigid Digits Winter Beer Fest at Centerpoint Brewing in downtown Indianapolis (Feb. 16th), because your individual donations are the most important thing.
It’s true that the majority of funding comes from individuals like you and me. The link is that craft beer fans are active in the community, and we’re going to drink craft beer anyway, so why not do it for a great cause. If you see the HTBB booth at a local event, take the time to talk to the volunteers, consider signing up to help the build, or toss a few dollars their way; it really does make a big difference. The home brewing clubs get involved in charity all the time and help out with labor, beer, and fundraising; there might even be an exclusively home brew festival this summer with a portion of the proceeds going to HTBB.
Give Back Nights will be scheduled at breweries and taprooms across the region so that a portion of sales will be donated to the project. The breweries have stepped up to the plate for these events, and now it is up to us to attend and buy pints in order to maximize the fundraising. Keep an eye on the HTBB and Indiana On Tap calendars in the future for the dates and locations of the give back nights, with one major exception – everyone can already schedule showing up at Moontown Brewing on Wednesday nights from May 1- June 19. The bar will be open from 3:30pm – 9pm every Wednesday, with food service beginning at 4pm. A full 10% of brewpub food and beverage sales for each of these dates will be going toward HTBB. This is a great start, but look for even more places to follow with events of their own.
There’s also a way for the entire family to be involved in the project. Volunteers at the build site are required to be at least 16 years old, but there is the Wall Build Event on April 27th at 10:00 that all ages can help with. Located at Onebridge (6500 Technology Center Drive, #300 in Zionsville), the walls for the house will be constructed off site, and then transported to the build site and erected all in one day. It’s like an Amish barn raising with trucks. After the walls are assembled, there will even be a lunch before all depart to raise the walls on the build site.
Contact HTBB or HFHBC to set up a volunteer building crew for your business or to do it personally. There are many build days scheduled for this home, all with professional guidance from contractors and others who do this for a living – you’re not going to be left to figure out the bathroom tiling or sheetrock hanging on your own. Many of the local breweries schedule days to take the entire staff out to help with the build. It’s just another way that craft beer is contributing to this cause.
This year’s home site is at 602 S. Main Street in Whitestown, just down the way from Moontown Brewing. The search for a candidate family in Boone County is ongoing. There are many individuals and families that sign up to be HFH recipients, but it isn’t that simple. It is a demanding series of steps, with classes, a budget, and the candidate being willing to put in 200 hours of sweat equity on their own house.
Even more, HFH needs to match a candidate with a time frame, a location, and a proper house design. There are plenty of qualified candidates, but finding one to match in all categories and to accept the terms of the loan is a full time job. Luckily, they’ve never had a project fail because there wasn’t a family ready and qualified to participate. Everyone grows during the process – the HFH staff, the candidate and family, the volunteers, the sponsors. It is truly a community effort.
It’s also important to realize that the families are not given the house. Habitat for Humanity provides a hand up, not a hand out. As applicants, families are paired with a budget coach who guides them through a program to rid them of debt (except for education, automobile, or medical debt). There is a loan, and they have a scheduled interest-free mortgage to repay that loan. The effort of HFH and the sponsors, partners, and volunteers is to reduce the size of the mortgage so that a person, well prepared, will manage the payments and be successful.
The HFH model has been successful all over the country, and now The House That Beer Built movement is catching on too. HTBB is a program that was initiated nationally a couple of years ago. Liz Qua, Executive Director for HFHBC and Sue Burks, then volunteer coordinator for HFHBC, attended a global conference geared to helping non-profit organizations fins new partners, funding sources, and marketing opportunities. At this conference, they found out about the first House That Beer Built in Ft. Collins, CO. The success of this first build led to a mimicking of the effort in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Now there are similar programs in Buffalo, NY Knoxville, TN, and Columbus, OH – nothing succeeds like success. It is a nice testimonial to the power and community of craft beer across the country.
*North Coast Brewing in Mendacino, CA is not making Brother Thelonious Abbey Style Belgian Dark as of now. The brewery has sold this outstanding beer since 2005, under a license from the Thelonious Monk Estate to use the image of the jazz great on the beer packaging in exchange for a donation from each beer sold going to the Thelonious Monk Institute for Jazz Education.
TS Monk, Thelonious’ son, is estate administrator, rescinded the permission to use the image when it was determined that the brewery was using the image on merchandise, not just the beer packaging and labeling. This was in 2016, and in early 2018, a judge in California said that the estate did have the right to sue the brewery.
They are seeking $75,000 in compensatory damages. As of this writing, the case has not been resolved, but all Thelonious Monk beer and merchandise has been removed from the North Coast website. Kahn’s Fine Wines in Indianapolis said they have sold the beer they had, and haven’t had a deliver of Brother Thelonious since August of last year, just about the time that the California judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit and stated that it should go to trial. So if you find some Brother Thelonious to buy, realize that it has a good amount of age on it.
02/26/19 Update: As of February 21, 2019, North Coast Brewing has reintroduced Brother Thelonious Belgium-style Dark Strong Abbey Ale with a new label illustration. Previously, a donation from the sale of each bottle was made to the Thelonious Monk Institute for Jazz Education, but with the new label comes a new charity, the jazz education programs of the Monterey Jazz Festival. See the new illustration to right, and read the entire story here.