LONGMONT, Colo. — As the Town of Lyons, Longmont and surrounding communities eclipse the three month anniversary of the floods that swept away many homes and businesses, Lyons-born Oskar Blues Brewery is putting its money where its mouth is to help its communities get back on their feet through the work of its nonprofit entity, the CAN’d Aid Foundation. To date, the foundation has raised $350,000 to help small businesses, individuals and organizations after the flood but it simply is not enough. Oskar Blues is stepping up to MATCH all donations made through the end of the year to CAN’d Aid as they reach for $500,000 of flood relief funds.
“We’re proud to have been able to give relief to businesses & individuals so quickly, but there is a MASSIVE FUNDING NEED that far outweighs our current funds.” Says Diana Ralston the CAN’d Aid Foundation Executive Director.
Money raised to date has come from a variety of sources – donations from businesses and individuals, fundraising events hosted by Oskar Blues and partners like The Infamous String Dusters along with $50,000 donated directly from Oskar Blues and a personal donation of $115,000 from Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis. The foundation is seeking additional funds with the goal of raising $500,000 by the end of the year.
There are no corporate chain businesses in the town of Lyons. All the businesses are locally owned and operated and thrive with the summer tourism season. The slow winter months, however, are always a struggle. This year, the floods came through and shut down those businesses just as they were hoping for sales that typically carry them through the winter months. Losing the months of September and October will be too much for some businesses to handle which will likely lead to several businesses closing their doors. The CAN’d Aid Foundation is doing its best to help keep as many of them afloat as possible.
“Until the flood, Lyons was a success story of a small town with an eclectic bunch of entrepreneurs making their mark on a revitalized Main Street,” said Julie Van Domelen, mayor of Lyons. “Our businesses are all independently-owned, without the deep pockets necessary to see them through a catastrophic loss of utilities and customers. CAN’d Aid Foundation has been the first on the ground to get them the vital help they need to see this through.”
“CAN’d Aid is a longtime dream of mine as a way for us to give back to the people and communities where we live, brew, serve food and play,” said Katechis. “I never expected that our first initiative would be something this huge, but when we saw how much damage the floods caused — not just to structures but to lives and livelihoods — we knew we had to help. And this is money that’s going back to local businesses and individuals immediately.”
About Oskar Blues Brewery
Founded by Dale Katechis in 1997 as a brewpub and grill, Oskar Blues Brewery launched its craft-brewed beer canning operations in 2002 in Lyons, Colo. It was the first American craft brewery to brew and hand-can its beer. Today there are more than 200 craft breweries canning beer. The original crew used a hand-canning line on a tabletop machine that sealed one can at a time. Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont packaged 59,000 in 2011 and grew to 85,750 in 2012 while opening an additional brewery in Brevard, NC, in late 2012.