Breweries Rally to Help Victims of Northern California Wildfires

Several brewing companies are stepping up in support of those affected by the Northern California wildfires that have burned down more than 3,500 homes and buildings and killed at least 31 people.

Stone Distributing, the Southern California distribution arm of Stone Brewing, announced Friday that it would donate a portion of sales throughout October to Direct Relief, which is providing assistance to California’s Office of Emergency Services, the Napa County Public Health Department and more than 40 health centers and clinics.

In a press release, Stone Brewing CEO Dominic Engels said that the company had spoken with Bear Republic’s Richard Norgrove Sr. and Russian River’s Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo who “verified that they are personally OK and that their businesses are safe.”

“However, they have many employees, colleagues, friends, family and neighbors who have been dramatically affected in this historically tragic set of Northern California wildfires,” Engels said in the release. “We cannot sit idle with such devastation at hand.”

Stone Distributing will donate $0.25 for every case of Bear Republic, Russian River and about nine other breweries beer it sells to retailers. The company will also donate $0.25 for every case of Stone beer sold in Southern California. Finally, Stone will donate $0.15 for every case of its beer sold through its wholesaler partners throughout the rest of California.

Recall that Stone Brewing is in the midst of laying down roots in Northern California as it works to renovate a 10,000 sq. ft. building in downtown Napa, which it will use as a taproom and 10-barrel pilot brewery destination.

Additionally, Santa Rosa-headquartered Russian River said it would donate 100 percent of the proceeds from the release of Sonoma Pride on October 31 to victims of the fires. The company will also raise money through a raffle for 14 chances to cut in line for the 2018 release of coveted Pliny the Younger. More details on those efforts are available here.

Meanwhile, Eater shared the story of Amy Levin, whose husband, Aron, is the head brewer of Sonoma County-based St. Florian’s Brewery and a fire department captain in Windsor, California. Levin is reportedly in intermittent contact with her husband via text and phone as he fights the fires.

So far, several breweries in the area have been spared, including St. Florian’s Brewery. The Mercury News reported that a number of Bear Republic employees have lost their homes, and the company has shut down production in order to help others evacuate.

For its part, Bear Republic said it would donate $0.50 from every case of beer sold over the next 30 days in an effort to help those affected by the wildfires.

“Many of our employees and family members have lost their homes and have little to rely on,” the company’s owners wrote in a newsletter. “We are reaching out to our wholesalers and asking for their support through matching funds up to 0.50 cents per case or a one time donation.”

The Mercury News also has updates on several smaller area breweries. Read more here.

Finally, Anheuser-Busch InBev suspended operations Tuesday at its Fairfield production brewery and taproom due heavy smoke causing “air quality and health concerns” for its workers, the SF Gate reported.

The world’s largest beer manufacturer briefly resumed operations Thursday afternoon but has since temporarily shut down the plant, today, according to A-B spokeswoman Gemma Hart.

“We are working with the American Red Cross to coordinate the delivery and distribution of two truckloads of emergency canned drinking water to areas affected by the fires,” she said in a statement.

UPDATE: Fort Point Beer Company is using its San Francisco brewery at 644 Old Mason Street as a drop-off location for supplies through October 16. The beer company’s trucks will be making deliveries to shelters in Santa Rosa. See more details here.

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