How Giving Back Can Endear, Connect to Consumers

Built around the idea of creating a craft beer culture and experience in their hometown came natural for No-Li Brewhouse as they began partnering with different nonprofits, community organizations and individuals that shared their vision of improving the Spokane, Washington community.

“Our community giving initiative — Spokane Has Heart — has grown exponentially and we’ve been able to increase our giving every year,” said Marketing Manager Mike Bookey. “In 2017, we were able to generate more than $50,000 for nonprofits and people in need, which was almost double of what we generated in 2016.”

Part of the brewery’s philosophy is not just writing a check to a nonprofit, but rather engaging their community to come and learn about the cause and become involved in helping raise money.

Being local and a part of the community means many of the ideas can come from reading local newspapers, watching the local TV news. Some of the ideas that Bookey listed from No-Li came around that way. A few events they run include:

  • No-Li FrostFest — a 2,100 person winter beer festival produced by No-Li and serving exclusively No-Li beers benefiting the Washington State Fallen Heroes Project
  • Spokane Beer Week Collaboration Festival — a gathering of Spokane area breweries that generated $6,000 for the Salish School, a Native American school in Spokane that teaches the Salish language. The school was vandalized with hate speech and they were able to pay for a new security system.
  • Spokane Has Heart — an annual T-shirt drive to raise money for a specific cause. “We raised $15,000 for the family of a young girl who was killed in a house fire,” Bookey said.

Giving back has been part of the No-Li culture from Day One, he added.

“It’s been our belief that giving back is not just an option but a necessity for us,” Bookey said. “‘Give until it hurts,’ may sound cliche, but it’s been quite true for us over the years.”

The brewery tends to work with groups and individuals that are often overlooked in the community. But they also have worked to bolster the region’s emerging cultural and artistic scene, providing support to music festivals, the symphony, arts collectives and other efforts.

Community outreach ideas percolate up from the community and into the staff and are researched by the marketing department.

“When it comes to the execution of the actual events, we bring in most of our staff to help out,” Bookey said. “As Spokane Has Heart has grown and more people have become aware of our past contributions and efforts, we’ve had more and more folks in the community come to us with proposals for us to help out. This makes for some tough decisions on our part as we can’t jump aboard on every one of these projects, as tempting as it may be.”

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