Bale Breaker Brewing Company Discusses Ales for ALS

Meghann Quinn’s grandparents planted the families first hop farm in the Yakima Valley in 1932. In April, the family opened Bale Breaker Brewing Company and joined Ales for ALS.

We were lucky enough to interview Quinn about Ales for ALS, Bale Breaker Brewing and her family’s fourth-generation hop farm, Loftus Ranches.

BM: How long has your family owned the hop farm and Bale Breaker?

MQ: Our great grandparents planted our family’s first five acre hop field in the Yakima Valley in 1932, the year before Prohibition ended.  Today, Loftus Ranches is in its fourth-generation of family ownership, harvesting close to 900 acres of hops each year.  In April 2013, we opened the doors to Bale Breaker Brewing Company, a 30-barrel production brewery surrounded on three sides by our family’s hop fields, just down the road from where we were born and raised.

Team1

The Bale Breaker Brewing Company Team.

 

BM: What made BT Loftus launch Ales for ALS?

MQ: ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord and affects an estimated 500,000 people worldwide.  Ten percent of ALS cases are caused by a genetic abnormality and are hereditary; our family carries that gene.  Over the last twenty five years, we watched too many family members succumb to this terrible disease.  “Anyone who has witnessed it up close is impacted,” said Mike Smith, owner of Loftus Ranches. “To see someone gradually lose all motor control but be perfectly sound mentally affects you.”  Therefore, we are committed to finding effective treatments and ultimately a cure, so the money raised is going to the Massachusetts-based ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI), a nonprofit biotechnology company working on effective treatments.  For a more on our family’s connection with ALS, please visit the Team Hanses page on ALS TDI’s website:http://community.als.net/TeamHanses

BM: How many other brewing companies are involved in the program?

MQ: I believe we ended up with about 48 participating breweries, including Bale Breaker.  All participating breweries are listed at http://www.alesforals.com/Brewers.aspx

Topcutter IPA by Bale Breaker Brewing Company.

Topcutter IPA by Bale Breaker Brewing Company.

BM: Is the program ongoing, or is it seasonal?

MQ: Ales for ALS will be an annual fundraiser with this being our first year.  The program has been designed for beers to be released mid-May through mid-July.

BM: How has it been working with other breweries on the project?

MQ: The support from the industry has been incredible.  When we began brainstorming this idea less than a year ago, we didn’t know how many brewers would agree to participate, but with nearly fifty participating breweries spanning across the U.S., Ales for ALS has been more successful this first year than we expected.  Many breweries have worked together to exchange beers and hold collaborate release parties promoting each other’s beers and the Ales for ALS program.

Bale Breaker Brewing Company.

Bale Breaker Brewing Company.

BM: How can other breweries and consumers alike get involved?

MQ: At least $1 per pint sold will be donated back to ALS research through the Massachusetts-based ALS Therapy Development Institute.  Our website (AlesforALS.com) lists all participating breweries, so swing by your local participating brewery for a pint and to support a great cause!

At this time, we can’t accepting any more breweries for 2013, but we hope to expand the program next year, so interested breweries can email Dave Virden (dvirden@als.net) to see about getting involved in 2014.

 

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