The holiday season symbolizes many things: religious holidays, old men with white beards, menorahs, cold weather, crafty beers, warm vacations, and above all, the spirit to give.
Engine 15 Brewing Company has explored this notion of giving on a local and national level for over two and a half years, and not just during the holidays.
Engine 15 has a brew schedule in which they brew beers on a quarterly basis. Every three months, they come up with a new lineup of beers or restock certain brews for the upcoming quarter. Each time they formulate their line of beers, one of them is dedicated to a certain charity near and dear to the Engine 15 family.
This quarter’s beer is the Emerald Necklace IPA. It is being brewed in hopes of rejuvenating the “Emerald Necklace,” which is the area that is designed to join McCoy’s Creek and Hogan’s Creek and encircle downtown to connect the different areas of the St. Johns River that make up the riverside parks and outdoor areas. The money raised will be donated to the North Florida Land Trust and they will, in turn, put the money back into the community to improve the Emerald Necklace area into what it could have been if fully finished back when the project originated.
This campaign is especially important to Engine 15 because the location of their new downtown brewery is in close proximity to McCoy’s Creek and the Emerald Necklace area, explained Sean Bielman, part-owner of Engine 15.
“The charities that we have done in the past have all kind of came to us organically, either they have been charities we personally believe in or have a connection to, or they have been neighbors of ours,” Bielman said.
Being that the Emerald Necklace is so close to them, they figured it would be a cool way to give back and support the community their business is so deeply entwined with – hence this quarter’s beer, the Emerald Triangle IPA.
For each charity brew, Engine 15, in conjunction with the charity chosen for that specific brew, puts together tapping events introducing the charity beer for each quarter, with proceeds from the events and beer sold going directly to the charity or organization chosen.
The event for the Emerald Necklace took place on Nov. 20, and Bielman explained that whether it be the tapping party, the funds raised, or choosing the charity, the charity brews are all about getting the word out.
“The main objective in doing these charity brews is to create awareness. With the craft beer following we have here in North Florida, and the demographic that makes up that group, there are so many people that will spread the word, come to the events and try and eventually buy the beer,” Bielman said.
With that following, giving back through brews has become a cool way for people to explore philanthropic efforts. With that being said, it comes with the unique effort they put in.
“I think if we just gave them money at face value it wouldn’t hold as much value. You know we do what we can when we can, and sometimes we wish it was more, but I think it means more to everyone involved that we go through the process we do to make something special and unique to each charity and working with them to create something special together with them,” Bielman said.
Engine 15 works hard to have an upstanding reputation as an integral part of and positive impact on the community. Bielman mentioned that although giving back during the holiday season seems like the thing to do, Engine 15 as a company is always looking to help out in any way they can and they love that they can do that.
“We see what we are doing as the right thing (to do). I think we are more cognoscente about it when the holiday season comes around. But for us, charity doesn’t have a season. This is just who we are, For us it’s an all-the-time thing. We enjoy doing it and we do it in a way that is mutually beneficial for everyone,” Bielman concluded.