If you've ever taken a Level Up workshop at Bold Missy, struck a warrior pose in the Triple C barrel room, or crushed in trivia at 26 Acres, you know that when it comes to the Charlotte craft beer scene, community is everything.
The members of the Charlotte Independent Brewers Alliance (CIBA) know this, too. CIBA members understand that local breweries are woven into the tapestry of our city, and they're committed to celebrating the heritage and distinction of our local craft breweries while advocating for the community, the environment and alcohol responsibility. By revitalizing neighborhoods, donating to nonprofits, and employing local residents, independent brewers create a virtuous investment cycle. More than 90 cents of every dollar spent on beer made by a CIBA member stays in North Carolina.
"Our local tap rooms are designed to serve the community, and our local brewery owners all have the community's interests in mind," says Nils Weldy, Regional Director of ACEing Autism. Nils also serves as Executive Director of CIBA. It's a position that came about through the strong connection he developed with local brewery owners as director of the Queen City Brewers Festival.
The community stewardship at the heart of CIBA was on full display during #GivingTuesdayCLT last year, with Wet Your Whistle Wednesday.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the biggest drinking day of the year in the U.S., so SHARE Charlotte and CIBA organized Wet Your Whistle Wednesday during last year's #GivingTuesdayCLT. Since we would all be wetting our whistle anyway, this event gave Charlotteans a chance to support local nonprofits while pre-gaming for Turkey Day. Each CIBA member got to choose its own nonprofit and decide how they wanted to give back. Whether it was a percentage of sales or a dollar for every pint sold, the impact was profound...and profoundly local.
Fifteen local breweries supported different nonprofits, with donations helping survivors of domestic violence, abused or neglected animals, families experiencing hunger, cancer patients and their families, preservation of greenways and land, people affected by multiple sclerosis, and military veterans with disabilities.
Proceeds from Wet Your Whistle Wednesday also provided sports interventions for children with autism, leadership programs for adolescents, gardening education for children, fitness programs for girls, professional therapy for children with physical disabilities, and support and advocacy for LGBTQ teens.
CIBA plans to give back again this year, and this time they've chosen a single beneficiary that's directly connected to their work: The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation.
"The most essential ingredient to quality beer is clean water, so we at CIBA are putting our effort and time into supporting the cause of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation," says Nils Weldy. The foundation educates and advocates to protect the lakes, rivers and streams of the Catawba-Wateree River basin.
Want to help protect our water sources while drinking some of the wonderful things that CIBA members brew with that water? Stay tuned to SHARE Charlotte on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the latest news on how you can drink GOOD while doing GOOD this year during #GivingTuesdayCLT.Grace Kennedy is a Huntersville-based writer specializing in storytelling for nonprofits. Learn more at gracekennedy.net.