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Helping the hungry: Three breweries collaborate on beer to benefit food bank

Giving back to charities is nothing new to local breweries.

Three New Mexico breweries collaborated on One for 5. All the proceeds from the sales of the canned beer will benefit the Storehouse New Mexico food pantry. (Courtesy of Steel Bender Brewyard)

But when it came time to raise money for food pantry Storehouse New Mexico, the idea to streamline the process turned into a collaboration among three popular New Mexico breweries: Bosque Brewing Co., Sierra Blanca Brewing Co. and Steel Bender Brewyard.

“The idea was raised to bring multiple breweries together toward one big push for Hunger Action month, which is in September, and to do kind of as a bigger version of what individual breweries had already been doing with the Storehouse,” said Jess Griego, chief experience officer of Bosque Brewing. “We were super-excited to jump on this specific collaboration, which hadn’t been done before.”

Instead of donating a portion of the sales of a different beer at each of the breweries, the breweries decided to create one beer with one message.

“There was initial interest in doing a very hoppy IPA, and we want this to be a very accessible product,” said Steel Bender co-owner Shelby Chant. “That was very important to us. We wanted to have a common message delivered through a very accessible product. Frankly, there’s a lot of people that just don’t like IPAs, and we didn’t have time to do a lager. We thought, let’s just do a pale ale, because it appeals to people who do like hops, but it’s not going to be offensive to people who just can’t stand IPAs.

Brewers from the three breweries created a traditional and approachable American pale ale named One for 5.

“One for 5 is a classic take on an American Pale Ale in the Northwestern tradition,” said Adam Auden, sales and distribution for Steel Bender. “Aromas of grapefruit and pine nicely balanced on the palate with hints of orange, a biscuity cereal character from the heritage crystal malt and touch of sweetness, leading to a drier citrus pith finish.”

The name was inspired by the Storehouse’s ability to provide five meals for $1.

“When we decided to package this, we all came together in terms of a name,” Chant said. “What is going to get the messaging across the strongest? I just remember when we first worked with (Storehouse) that message stood out so well. It was $1 will purchase five meals. I just thought that just kind of says it all.”

All the proceeds from the beer can sales will benefit the Storehouse. The 12-ounce cans, sold in six-packs, are being distributed by Admiral Beverage. The beer is available at Albertsons stores across the state, as well as at each of the breweries’ taprooms. It will also be available on tap. A portion of the proceeds of draught sales from all brewery taprooms will be donated to Storehouse, according to Chant.

The breweries, along with Admiral and Albertsons, are big supporters of Storehouse. Radio station 94 Rock is helping with promotion of the beer. Albertsons donates about a third of the Storehouse’s food supply and contributed about 600,000 pounds of food last year. Each year, the Storehouse helps feed about 53,000 people, including children.

“It’s proven that children that aren’t fed well or eat healthy, they’re not going to grow as well,” said Jill Beets, director of marketing and communications at Storehouse New Mexico. “They’re not going to do as well in school. They’re going to miss more school. I worry that they’re going to be back in a situation that they’re never going to reach the potential that we need them to reach as a community. To me, that’s why this is compelling. We’re feeding families. We’re making sure that basic need is met.”

The Storehouse is New Mexico’s largest food pantry. Most of its clients are categorized as the “working poor” and are not earning enough to make ends meet. Storehouse serves as a safety net to help families put food on the table. The Storehouse is organized like a grocery store. Clients are able to select from fresh produce, dairy, meats, canned goods and other options, just as they would if they were shopping at a retailer.

“They pick all their own groceries, and they do that because we feel it is important for people to be treated with respect, and we all pick our own food,” Beets said. “It is the best practice nationally for food pantries, but it’s also important for food waste. Everything that is donated and that we purchase with grant dollars or donations we want to make sure it really goes where it’s going to be used. If you just provide everybody a box of food, you don’t know people’s dietary restrictions you don’t know if they have diabetes or allergies. They know what their family is going to eat and what their favorite things are.”

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