How Thirsty Monk Stays Organized When Partnering With Nonprofits

When aligning your brewery with a nonprofit, it’s important that the cause relates to your brewery and helps tell its story. Barry Bialik, CEO of Thirsty Monk, has a moniker that he follows when making decisions about the brewery and tries to be creative when raising money for charity.

Bialik says he follows the acronym PITA (purpose, intent, thought, actions) to help him stay purpose-driven.

“I always make sure that I think through my purpose first,” Bialik said. “My intent of that purpose, then the thought goes behind it and then the action comes afterwards. Sometimes people jump too fast to their actions without thinking through their purpose.”

Kicking off the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Thirsty Monk had its second release of Trail Monk IPA, part of its Karma Series.

This effort was natural for Thirsty Monk, when several years ago, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation approached Thirsty Monk about teaming up.

Now, they’ve worked on a beer together the past two years, and while proceeds from the Asheville location will benefit Blue Ridge Parkway, the other two Thirsty Monk breweries in Denver and Portland have their own initiatives: Colorado Fourteeners Initiative and Trailkeepers of Oregon, respectively.

Instead of donating a monetary value or percentage from every beer bought, Thirsty Monk has unique strategies for kickstarting funds for nonprofits, such as raffles for customers and activities to help raise money.

Thirsty Monk aligns itself with other companies that support that same charity, such as REI and Diamond Sports. When customers donate to the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation by buying stickers, they’re entered into a raffle to win a backpack donated by another company.

Prior to Trail Monk IPA in the Karma Series, Thirsty Monk released Unity Gose in support of LBGTQ equality and inclusion. Patrons could color in a rainbow for $3 or a unicorn for $20 that would go up on display on the wall behind the bar in the taproom

“It’s almost like playing into the billion dollar valuation of unicorns,” Bialik said, laughing. “But we had a fair amount of people who supported the cause and said ‘OK, I’m going to give you twenty dollars because 100% is going to charity.”

As a brewery, “you get approached all the time,” Bialik said, by nonprofits asking for money. So, Thirsty Monk releases four beers every year, each tied to three different charities for a total of 12 charities per year.

“This is our way of making sure we’re organized, and so we thought through for the year: What are the four causes we’re going to focus on?” Bialik said. “Then: How do we come up with organized methods that we can reuse, rather than just throw darts at them?”

Bialik advises thinking ahead above all else, rather than just accepting individual requests.

“There’s so many that come in, and in some ways from the brewer side and the brewery side you don’t have the same effectiveness,” he said. “If you’re just if you’re just giving out all these like 20 dollar gift cards to everyone who comes, it doesn’t have the same intent behind it.”

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