That, boys and girls, is called a teaser title. Are we saving the world through beer? No. However, we are making a difference in our world. Allow me to explain.

Through all the years and beers, I have developed a fantastic beer community, as have many of you. These people are my tribe … they know my preferences, my favorites, and often know better than I do what I’m going to want next. Two of these guys in particular are the ones I refer to as my Beer Bros. This bond has developed through mutual business interests, lots of travel, tremendous beer sharing, and the subject of this article … fundraising beer tasting sessions.

Kill shot from 2021

Seven years ago, we developed an idea of offering attendees of an annual conference an optional conference session designed to help people learn how to taste and enjoy a variety of craft beer. We really didn’t know what to expect, but knowing the audience, we figured we could sell out our 25-person session and raise a few dollars for the Foundation. We had no idea what we just created …

A few days later, the conference planner let us know that the session had already sold out and asked if we’d host a second one. Yes, please. Here are the relatively simplistic details of the event:

  • we promise 3-4 samples of at least 6 craft beers in a one-hour session
  • we instruct everyone on how to properly taste beer using all the senses (except hearing): sight, smell, mouthfeel, taste
  • with each beer, we’ll give insights on the style, the beer, and the brewery
  • all beers are donated from breweries or a local community representative
  • we have 3-4 sponsors at each event
  • all other costs are covered by the three Bros so that 100% of all revenue goes to the Foundation
  • at each session, we bring some bombers from our private stashes and auction that bag off.
  • but wait, there’s more! On the last day of the conference, we auction ourselves off to do a beertasting session for the winning bidder

Results? You Want Results?

Year 1 was more successful than we could have imagined. And so, as you might guess, we were invited back for year 2 … and 3 …

We have just finished year 7 of this amazing journey and have served over 80 beers (we have never repeated a beer in seven years) to a total of nearly 400 session attendees. Most importantly, we’ve raised over $40,000 for the Foundation. Reminder … this is all just about sampling and enjoying great craft beer with our friends and peers – and we’ve raised a tremendous amount of money for a fantastic cause. Maybe we are saving the world.

Unintended Consequences

One thing we didn’t plan on was what has become the most powerful part of the entire adventure. I may have failed to mention that these sessions are the opening session of the conference. What we have learned is that this is the world’s greatest icebreaker/welcome wagon for an event. Imagine walking into a new conference, not knowing a soul; it can be a challenging and daunting endeavor, unless you’re a moron like me who will talk to anyone anywhere.

These sessions provide a shared experience in a relatively intimate environment. For the remainder of the conference, Mr. and or Mrs. First-Timer will see people that they met or saw in the tasting and have a very easy intro into a conversation.

The ultimate opening to the conference + unique networking opportunity + fundraising for a great cause + a nearly endless lineup of great craft beer. Are you ready for us to come host a session for you?

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June 9, 2022
Mike Pennington

Author: Mike Pennington

Mike Pennington, normal, 40-ish, father of three, living the suburban dream north of Atlanta.  

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