With the latest toll of the devastating fires now totaling 33 human lives, over a billion animals including many endangered species, thousands of buildings, and 46 million acres of land destroyed, the world has been sending its sympathies as well as aid to help Australia mitigate the catastrophic blazes. In addition to monetary support and the deployment of international disaster relief support personnel from governments and charities all over the world, the international beer community has been stepping up to support Australia’s affected areas as well.
Breweries and other businesses throughout Australia have been hosting events, raffles, keggers, new beer releases, and other special fundraising efforts with proceeds going toward a variety of emergency relief and wildlife protection charities. January 18 saw a slew of Australian breweries host fundraising events, and many are ongoing.
The money raised seems to be more than just spare change—a number of pubs and breweries like Whitelakes Brewing, Balter Brewing, Beerfarm, and Otherside Brewing Co. are donating anywhere from $1 to 3 per designated beer sold to relief efforts. Coldstream Brewery and Molly Rose Brewing have been donating all tips collected, while Felons Brewing has pledged to donate all profits made on their Natural Ale throughout January and February. It’s not known yet how much the Australian beer industry will have contributed, but with individual venues reporting anywhere from hundreds to a few thousand dollars raised each, the sum should be impressive.
It’s not just Australian brewers and drinkers putting their dollars toward the cause, however. The Resilience Beer project is a coordinated effort between brewers around the world, inspired by the effort of the same name led by Sierra Nevada to benefit California’s Camp Fire relief. In 2018, Sierra Nevada led a coalition of breweries to make one Resilience IPA to benefit the cause. Now, the growing coalition—which, according to organizer Tiffany Waldron, has benefited from knowledge and support shared by Sierra Nevada as well as permission to use the Resilience name—will be brewing a Resilience Pale Ale, a 5% ABV beer using a blend of American and Australian hops. Breweries participating are asked to donate, at a minimum, all profits made on the Resilience Pale Ale to one or more suggested relief organizations such as the Australian Red Cross and WIRES, and animal rescue service based in New South Wales.
Waldron said that as of late-January, nearly 200 breweries had registered to participate, and of those almost half are U.S.-based. Registration has been extended past its original deadline, she said, as some large American suppliers of malts and hops have recently stepped in to support the project. The full list of participating breweries has just been announced—Trillium, The Bruery, Breckenridge, Devils Backbone, and Boom City are among the participating breweries.
And the Resilience coordinated brew isn’t the only global collaboration among brewers to support the relief effort. Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles and 4 Pines Brewing in Manly, NSW, Australia, already began a collaboration late last year with their joint Dingo Pup Trans-Pacific Hazy IPA, named for Wandi, the rescued dingo pup of the endangered Alpine breed, who has quickly amassed a social media following. The beer was first released earlier this month, but 4 Pines will hold a fundraising event this coming weekend, Saturday, February 8, in suburban Sydney. The event, which will feature special guest Wandi himself, will benefit WIRES, the Australian Red Cross, and Wildlife Victoria.
Beer seems to be a recurring figure in the bushfire relief effort. A few weeks ago, the Australian Navy announced its pledge to deliver 3,000 liters of beer to the town of Mallacoota, as a show of emotional and economic support for the affected town’s residents and pubs.
Given the appalling toll the fires are taking on people and wildlife throughout Australia, it’s an understatement to say that those affected, or even just watching from afar, could use a drink. Thanks to the independent and coordinated efforts of brewers around the world, global beer drinkers can do so while contributing to the cause.