The Philanthropic Arm AleSmith Has Created

The pandemic was a blessing of sorts at least in one aspect for Peter Zien. The owner of AleSmith along with his wife Vicky had been working on creating a 501c3 organization heading into 2020 and Anvil of Hope became a reality on March 16, 2020. That would be one day after most of the state of California shut down due to the pandemic.

​”I want to show how Europe treats alcohol. It’s a part of society, and it’s not looked down upon as such an inherent evil,” Zien explained how a brewery can be a source of philanthropic endeavors.

“I would love AleSmith to be able to show that a brewery can help a community,” he said about the Anvil of Hope program the Ziens have created. “San Diego brewers have been doing that for years. Stone has always done Boys and Girls Club events. I think it was their way of showing that and I took a lesson in that.

“People are going to drink beer, we’re going to make some money, we’re going to give back to the community. And we’re going to show you how we’re helping.”

Anvil of Hope is the non-profit brainchild of ​the Zien​s​, who are deeply committed to strengthening ​its community. ​The non-profit’s vision is to break the cycle of poverty to ensure that ​everyone has the opportunity to thrive and prosper​ by​ providing​ mentoring/training/youth enrichment programs to at-risk school children to keep them safely engaged in school while developing a desire to pursue education/training beyond high school. ​They​ also provide a holistic approach to helping families succeed either through career counseling and job/skills training/parental skills training, or financial assistance​ ​to help provide a solid foundation for children.

​”​I thought AleSmith would be a great platform to launch something like this,” Peter Zien said during an interview for the January/February cover story on AleSmith for Brewer Magazine [Read it here NOW!]. “My thinking on this whole thing … alcohol in America gets kind of a bum rap, in my opinion, maybe correctly. We went through prohibition, it can be abused, it can cause issues.

​”​The puritanical root thing and the evil of alcohol​ …​ I never bought into that, I just thought how many times you had just a wonderful social event, drinking an alcoholic beverage or two with a friend or in a group?​”​

​That thought process started ​the ​planning ​for Anvil of Hope around 2016​, with the launch happening in 2020.​

​”​My wife, this is very important to her,” Zien said. “She’s Hispanic and she grew up in poverty, basically, in LA and in Mexico.

“When we first met, we talked about it and I said, you know, I’m building this brewery and the brand and I think it could be this great platform to do something.”

​Zien said​ Vicky is the driving force behind it all and has her mindset on great things.

​”I just know never to doubt her and the amount of good she’s done​,” he said. ​”​She wants to break the cycle of poverty. She wants to offer to tutor and train youth to get out of these underserved communities where dropout rates are tenfold and no prospects of anything. We fed all sorts of people at the food bank, we​’ve​ raised money ​to deliver hams ​at Easter.

​”​She did a Christmas gala and created holiday experiences for 350 families. She’s gotten grants from Qualcomm​ ​​… she’s just a powerhouse with this charity. And we’ve just begun.​”

Zien added that her goal is to have a Rose Parade float in two years as well.

“I mean, she’s not scared of big goals,” he said. “Don’t be surprised if you see me when one morning there with a hangover​,​ waving to the crowd. It’s been really fulfilling.”

The print edition of the January/February issue of Brewer with Zien and the AleSmith story is in your mailbox now with the cover story dropping online Friday, February 25. Read the edition edition now.

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