By Faith Chesbrough
Food, music, friends, and lots of beer! No, that’s not your checklist for a fun weekend, but it’s the recipe for raising money for charitable causes. It doesn’t get much better than being able to enjoy a beer for good, with Beers for Good.
Beers for Good is a non-profit organization that organizes, runs, and assists in local charity events to benefit the city of Fitchburg.
Their goal is to help the economic development of the city and to raise money for good causes, while providing quality craft beers to the public at entertaining and fun 21+ events.
Many Fitchburg locals may be familiar with the Nashua River Brewers Festival, held every year around June at Riverfront Park, which is sponsored by Beers for Good. They created this staple event in 2008 when they first formed and have continued the tradition ever since. Entrance to the festival is only $10 if you pay in advance and $15 at the door, with “pours” only costing $1 per fill for the 4 oz. mug they give you at the door. This event is more affordable than the “$30, $40 or $50 other festivals charge for an entrance fee,” according to David Streb, vice president of the organization.
This allows people “who are not big drinkers” to still enjoy the music, the food, and to be able to “socialize and be with their friends,” according to Liz Murphy, treasurer of the group. Some of the distributors and breweries they work with are Atlas, Girardi, Gardner Ale House, Wachusett, and the Craft Brewers Guild. They also recently partnered with the Fitchburg Order of Ale Makers, or FOAM, which is a home brewing club.
Dave Streb said that he would be “interested in helping [Murphy] start a brewery” right here in Fitchburg to work alongside FOAM.
Beers for Good accepts applications for charities to support. They “can’t just choose one,” according to Murphy, so they accept multiple applications and then choose “two or three charities and spread the money out between.” This year they raised $11,000, according to Murphy, which is the most they have ever made in a year, and about $60,000 to date since their formation. The money raised this year went to the following organizations: Red Raiders Lending Library, LUK Crisis Center’s Peers 4 Prevention Program, Growing Places Teaching Gardens, and Fitchburg Civic Days.
Their group has eight members and they are all volunteers. Beers for Good was formed by Trevor Bonilla (president), Dave Streb, Liz Murphy, and Robin Streb (secretary) in association with Fitchburg Civic Days, who they now donate money to each year. They are affiliated with Community Foundation and the City of Fitchburg.
The group relies on the support of volunteers to get their events up and running. “God bless the volunteers,” as Dave Streb said, they really appreciate the help. It is a lot of work setting up these events with the tent, stage, food, and the drinks, so they have as many as 70 volunteers helping at a time. They have also worked with Civic Days and Monty Tech to create an outdoor sink to provide hot water for the food vendors, which can now be used for other events as well.
Earlier this October Wachusett Brewing Company, with the help of Beers for Good, sponsored and held the first annual “Oktoburgfest” at the Fitchburg Armory, or Senior Center, in order to raise funds for the seniors. Wachusett provided the beer and Beers for Good volunteered for the ancillary duty of pouring at the event. They had The Jolly Kopperschmidts performing live, German food, dancing, beer hoisting, and more. Both the Wachusett Brewing Company and Beers for Good hope to have this event again in the following years.
In January, Beers for Good may be participating in the annual Winterfest at Coggshall Park, but it is not yet officially declared. To hear about their upcoming events or get involved, visit their website at beersforgood.com.