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Breweries join national effort to help California fire victims

November 30, 2018
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Tuesday morning brought snow, white skies and cold weather - a picturesque winter's day for the North Country. At both the Lake Placid and Big Slide breweries, workers began filling their tanks with hot water and malt. The thick, hot mash smelled like oatmeal as they stirred it with large paddles. This beer wouldn't be sold for profit. Instead, it's all for charity.

On the other side of the country, 29,000 miles away in Paradise, California, the scene was much worse. The Camp Fire in Butte County, which sparked Nov. 8 and was finally contained Sunday, spread across about 153,336 acres of wild lands and structures, killing at least 85 people.

To provide relief for the what's being called the most destructive fire in California history, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, based in Chico, California, one of the many areas impacted by the flames, started the Camp Fire Relief Fund. The brewery created Resilience Butte County Proud IPA and asked breweries across the country to brew it Tuesday - Giving Tuesday. One-hundred percent of the proceeds will go toward rebuilding and supporting the communities that were affected by the fire.

Article Photos

News photo — Griffin Kelly
Big Slide Brewery & Public House Head Brewer Jason Scull mixes hot water and malts into a brewhouse Tuesday. The final product will be Sierra Nevada’s Resilience Butte County Proud IPA, and 100 percent of the sales will go toward the Camp Fire Relief Fund in California.

The Lake Placid and Big Slide sister breweries are just two of more than 800 to participate in the fundraiser.

"We found out about this project almost a week ago, and it was a little bit of a last-minute thing," Director of Brewing Operations Kevin Litchfield said. "We got the news on Monday that they were putting a recipe together. Sierra Nevada has worked with malt and hops distributors across the country to donate all of the ingredients.

"We're happy to be doing a project with Sierra Nevada," he continued. "They were one of the first groups to really set the example for craft brewing in America during the 1980s."

The Lake Placid Pub & Brewery is making seven barrels, and Big Slide, which is under the same company, is making three-and-a-half barrels. The final beer will a be West Coast IPA with a hoppy, bitter flavor. The two breweries will have the beer on tap and in bottles when it's ready for release, which will most likely be around the start of the new year.

The Pub & Brewery has other philanthropic drinks like the BETA Beer, in which some of the proceeds go toward the Barkeater Trails Alliance mountain bike and ski trail building group. However, this is the first time 100 percent of a beer's sales will go toward a charity.

Amanda Webster, the social media director for the two breweries, lived in Butte County for a while. She said she's incredibly proud to work for a company that is providing relief to victims of the Camp Fire.

"I think everybody is pretty rocked by how devastating those fires were," she said. "We all saw it on the news, and even though it was all the way across the country, it touched everybody's life in some way. I'm glad that we're doing something."

Chris Ericson, who owns both breweries, said it's important to note that small brewers sell less than 20 percent of the beer in the U.S., but they're still an important group when it comes to fundraising efforts such as this.

"We're still the underdogs of the game," he said, "but when other people are in need, we all relate to how stressful it can be and show our support. Small brewers coming together is a great thing, but I'm not surprised by it. That's how we operate."



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