Associations are known for making members a top priority. Members of the Brewers Association of Maryland flipped the script and crafted a plan to help the group weather the current crisis.
Breweries throughout Maryland are joining forces in a fundraising effort—Brew for BAM—to support the Brewers Association of Maryland. In the wake of COVID-19, members knew BAM was going to lose a substantial amount of annual revenue from canceled consumer events. They wanted to help by doing what they do best—brewing a wonderful beer—and then contributing a portion of the proceeds to BAM.
Originally the brainchild of Mike Clements from Idiom Brewing Company in Frederick, Maryland, the idea has turned into an industry-wide effort to support BAM’s work. “A lot of people know about BAM’s events, but we’d like beer drinkers to know how much the association does behind the scenes,” he said.
BAM’s members have a “rich history of collaboration and unity,” according to Jim Bauckman, BAM’s director of communications. And these traits run deep in the brewing industry—from startups to daily operations. “Our members work with their peers and rely on their peers,” he said. “Our members value BAM as a part of their industry and community and are interested in preserving their association’s fiscal health.”
Having a reason—or a cause—behind selling their beer gives BAM members an additional tool to tell a story about their products in a marketplace filled with new beer varieties and options to try every day, Bauckman said.
The solidarity among brewers is evident in other causes they have stepped up to raise funds for in their communities nationwide. For example, Other Half Brewing in New York launched a beer called All Together to raise funds for hospitality staff struggling because of the pandemic, and Weathered Souls Brewing in Illinois introduced Black Is Beautiful to raise funds for nonprofit groups working toward racial equality and justice for all Americans.
Each of the Brew for BAM participating breweries is releasing its own beer and will decide how it will enter the marketplace. Some releases might hit retail shelves, while most of the releases will be sold directly from each tasting room.
Currently, there are eight Maryland breweries participating in the project: 1812 Brewery, Full Tilt Brewing, Hysteria Brewing Company, Idiom Brewing Company, Mully’s Brewery, Olde Mother Brewing Co., True Respite Brewing Company, and Waredaca Brewing Company.
“On behalf of BAM and our board, we are humbled that our members continue to find ways to contribute to their association, even in the most trying times,” said BAM’s President Sarah Healey, general manager of Milkhouse Brewery.