Brewing help for the hungry: One for 5 beer promotion raises money for New Mexico food bank

From left to right, Rod Tweet, brewmaster and president of Second Street Brewery, Robert Haggerty, director of brewing operations at Steel Bender Brewyard, and Sierra Blanca Brewing Company president and head brewer Rich Weber celebrate the brew of their 5 for One beer on Aug. 4. (Courtesy of Mario Caldwell)

Some local breweries and other businesses are teaming up to tackle one of the state’s biggest concerns – hunger.

September is Hunger Action Month, and Steel Bender Brewyard has collaborated with Second Street Brewery in Santa Fe and Sierra Blanca Brewing Co. in Moriarty to brew a special beer as part of its One for 5 fund raiser. They will donate the sales proceeds to the Storehouse New Mexico food pantry, one of the state’s largest.

This year’s One for 5 beer is a hazy pale ale. According to the brewers, the Pilsner malt is “light and dry with a great hop presence.”

The packaged beer is being sold exclusively in Albertsons grocery stores across New Mexico, and 100% of package sales proceeds will go to Storehouse. The One for 5 beer will also be available by the pint in each of the taprooms, with a dollar per pint being donated.

Thousands of New Mexicans face hunger and insecurity about where and when they will have their next meal. Throughout the years, New Mexico has had the dubious honor of leading the nation in child hunger. And 53% of the families experiencing food insecurity include at least one employed adult according to the New Mexico Association Food Banks.

It is alarming statistics such as these that led Steel Bender to look for ways to help. The answer was starting the One for 5 fundraiser three years ago.

The One for 5 charity beer is now available in package sales at Albertson’s and on tap at Steel Bender, Second Street and Sierra Brewery taprooms. (Courtesy of Mario Caldwell)

Steel Bender co-owner and marketing director Shelby Chant said it’s important to continue giving back to the community despite the challenges brewers faced during the pandemic, with closures, limited capacity and layoffs. Jill Beets, spokeswoman for Storehouse, said her organization can provide five meals with every $1 raised, which was the inspiration for the name of the beer and fundraiser.

Beets said the One for 5 effort has raised nearly $24,000 over the past two years, helping the Storehouse provide 119,645 meals.

“We are very thankful that the breweries are still supporting this effort,” Beets said. “Even with the challenges they have faced. Without their help, we could also be struggling.”

She said the number of people facing food insecurity increased during the pandemic.

“We have been seeing a lot of new faces,” Beets said. “Especially last summer, when people were laid off. We saw a lot of people who had never been to a food pantry.”

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