When Unlikely Pairings Yield New Awareness

Hoping to attract a new audience to its mission, the Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada is hosting Cookies & Kegs, a fundraising event that pairs the group’s signature cookies with a local brewery’s craft beer.

When my husband handed me an Olive & Sinclair salt and pepper chocolate bar, I was skeptical—and a little annoyed. All that I wanted was some dark chocolate to nurse my addiction; I didn’t need some new trendy candy bar. But I must admit that after nibbling a corner of the rectangular bar, I stood corrected. The brine of the salt and the zest of the pepper seemed to compliment the sweetness of the chocolate perfectly.

And I guess there’s a similar theory on pairing a food with a drink: You want the one to accentuate the other, rather than diminishing or distracting from them. One editor on Serious Eats likened the food-drink pairing experience to a miracle when she wrote: “And that’s where the miraculous happens: sometimes flavors in solid form and flavors in liquid form come together to create a third, delicious, set of flavors, bringing out something you wouldn’t taste if you hadn’t tried them together.”

Perhaps the surprise factor is what the Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada is counting on with the announcement of its latest fundraising and public awareness event, Cookies & Kegs. Yes, you did read that correctly. On June 22, the Girl Scouts are linking arms with Lovelady Brewing Company in Henderson, Nevada, to pair their cookies with craft beers.

Like me, you might be picturing little pig-tailed Daisies and Brownies pulling at the taps and doling out Samoa chasers. And that’s why I asked Liz Ortenburger, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada, why she chose this particular pairing.

“We were looking for something unique,” Ortenburger said. “And since we’re [located] in Vegas, we thought we’d go after what’s unique to Vegas.”

Beer was a fitting choice. In fact, back in 2013, a study by the Beer Institute found that Nevadans consumed an average of 35.8 gallons of beer a year, making the state the sixth-largest consumer in the country.

But the alcohol-infused event—which will pair Thin Mints with a Bock-style beer and Caramel deLites with an ale, among other combinations—is not without precedence. In fact, Girl Scout chapters across the country have hosted cookie-and-wine pairing events for years. Their successful Dessert Before Dinner gala, which last year drew a record-breaking 700-plus attendees, serves up Girl Scout cookie-inspired desserts alongside cocktails.

“Matching up craft beer with Girl Scout Cookies presented a really fun challenge and I’m confident we came up with several eye-opening pairings,” said Richard Lovelady, the brewmaster of Lovelady Brewing Company, in a press release. “We looked for that ‘one-plus-one-equals-three’ equation, where both the beer and the cookie were enhanced by bringing them together.”

Lovelady nailed it on the head when he called the pairings “eye-opening.” After all, the surprise element of coupling Girl Scout cookies with booze was what caught my attention.

“My hope is that everyone has a good time,” Ortenburger said. “But beyond that, that they walk away with an understanding of who the Girl Scouts are in 2016.”

How can your association implement the surprise factor of an unlikely pairing to promote awareness and bring in cash? Because who knows, you just might just create the perfect pairing of public awareness and fundraising.


Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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