NJ Brewers Band Together To Help Hospitality Workers Affected by Coronavirus

More than 20 Garden State craft breweries have signed on to make All Together, a collaborative beer brewed to support hospitality professionals affected by the pandemic.

Photo courtesy of All Together

Sharp-eyed observers of brewery tap lists around the state will soon start to see a beer name pop up with some frequency. Fittingly, the beer is called “All Together.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact everyday life and businesses and more people are experiencing unemployment, especially many of those in the hospitality industry, the brewing industry has banded together to brew and release a beer with proceeds going to those affected.

All Together is a “worldwide beer collaboration created to raise support for the industry we love so much. We’ve invited any brewer, from any corner of the planet to take the same base beer recipe and put their own unique twist on it,” says Matt Monahan, co-founder of New York’s Other Half Brewing, which created the concept. “The goal is to use that beer to raise support for themselves and their communities. It’s an effort to provide relief to those who are struggling.”

As of earlier this week, 559 breweries from 41 states and 39 countries are participating in the project. More than 20 in New Jersey have signed up.

Other Half provided the recipe for All Together to the participating breweries. It’s a 6.5% abv India Pale Ale (IPA) made with two-row malt, oats, and carapils malt and then dosed with a blend of hand-selected Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe and Cascade hops.

“To have one brewery jump on board, let alone 559 breweries from around the world, is incredible,” says Monahan. “With the All Together Beer project we just wanted to raise awareness and help our community and we could not have asked for a better response.”

There are some, like Carton Brewing in Atlantic Highlands that have already brewed and released their version. Other breweries, like Source Brewing in Colts Neck will release their version on Friday.

“We are putting a portion of the proceeds towards helping our unemployed taproom employees and also supporting our two local bars here in Colts Neck,” says Source Brewing founder and brewer Jeremy Watts. “This project is a great tool for the beer industry, it’ll help support current and further relationships with bars and restaurants. I believe it represents a cohesiveness between bars and breweries that the consumer may not normally see. We are very excited to get our version into cans.”

In Hackettstown, Matt Czigler, owner and brewmaster of Czig Meister Brewing, is planning for a May 1 release date for his version of the beer. He says the plan is to keep the proceeds from the IPA to affected businesses in town.

“There are a lot of restaurants and other small mom-and-pop shops within the downtown area,” he says. “I’d like to help as many people as possible but don’t want to spread the money too thin. The hope would be to get money to the individual that they would use in local businesses. In this way we can help the individual and local businesses that are seeing less business. So still a lot to work on the back end to make sure the ‘money side’ is set. But we are moving forward full steam with the brew.” He said he was looking into the possibility of working with the town’s Business Improvement District entity to possibly raise additional funds.

This is not the first time breweries have collectively gotten together to make a beer designed to help those in need.

In late 2018, brewers around the country and the world banded together to produce a single IPA recipe to benefit victims of California wildfires. The beer was called Resilience and the brewery behind the project was Sierra Nevada, the venerable craft brewery that has long been a beacon for positivity in the brewing industry.

Resilience was brewed again at the end of 2019 by breweries around the world to help victims and those affected by the devastating fires in Australia.

“For me, craft beer has always been about community. It’s why we brew the wide variety that we do, rather than chase one style or type. We are running our Hops4Heroes program for first responders, and sold gift cards for some restaurants on our website, but felt we could do more,” says Brian Kulbacki the founder and brewer of Departed Soles Brewing Co. in Jersey City. “When approached about All Together, it seemed like a great opportunity to continue to give back.”

For other breweries, like Toms River Brewing, making a beer like All Together is just a continuation on charity work that was already in progress.

“Before this pandemic hit we typically hosted one to two fundraisers a month in our tap room and have brewed up several different beers to raise funds for charitable causes,” says Lacey Stryker, vice president of marketing for Toms River Brewing. “Giving back to our community—and causes that are important to our community—is part of the DNA of our brewery, and something our customers have come to expect. All Together is brewed for the hospitality industry. Many of us have been a part of that industry and they are an extension of us. We wanted to participate and be able to give back.” All proceeds from Toms River Breweing’s All Together sales will be donated to Restaurant Workers’ Community Relief Fund.

The brewery says it plans to release their version at the end of this month and will have it available for to-go sales, home delivery, and at local stores.

For the New Jersey breweries that have already brewed and released a version of All Together, and for the customers who already have some in hand, there will be a “virtual toast” on Thursday, April 16 at 8pm EST on the @OtherHalfNYC Instagram live page.

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