I'm raising money with beer!
May 22, 2009 12:12 PM   Subscribe

It's beer! For charity! But....what do I do with it?

I'm doing a charity event this summer that requires me to fundraise. I'm doing the traditional send-an-email-and-hit-people-up thing, and that's fine, but I want to do something else too.

I have a friend who's a brewer, and he's graciously donating some of his brews to me to use as I see fit. The trouble is, I don't know what to do. I was thinking of having a party. The party would be free, but to fundraise, I was thinking of doing a blind tasting of four beers - two of his, two of my favorite craft beers - that would cost each participant $5-10 or so. This is where I struggle.

What should be the point of said tasting? Should I limit the tasting to a timeframe, ask people to rank their favorites, and then declare a winner ("winner" of bragging rights, maybe, but nothing tangible?) after a couple of hours of tasting?

Am I missing any other great fundraising ideas that involve beer? I don't want to get into doing raffles or giveaways, because there's laws that govern that sort of thing for charity and this doesn't need to be that sophisticated.

Any great ideas for fundraising you've seen - even ones that don't involve donated beer?
posted by pdb to Food & Drink (8 answers total)
Absolutely Gross, but oh so good: Dunk Tank... or should I say Drunk Tank.
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:16 PM on May 22, 2009

There doesn't have to be any point to a tasting...it's just a tasting. Maybe you could get donations of food and advice on "proper pairings".
posted by JoanArkham at 12:22 PM on May 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you manage to get four different types of beer--ale, lager, stout, porter, wheat, etc.--then you could do it all competition-style, maybe, where if a contestant in the blind tasting is able to correctly name each style of beer, they get a bottle or two of their choice. But I don't know the size of the fundraiser or how much beer you're getting, so maybe that would quickly bankrupt the beer supply. Maybe they could get some lame (read: cheap) prize instead. Or maybe if Mr. Nice Guy brewer is feeling extra-generous, prizes could include a free tour of the brewery.
posted by Skot at 12:24 PM on May 22, 2009

Can you recruit some local chefs to do cooking demos, tailored to pair the dish with a specific beer? Raffle off gift certificates to the restaurants.
posted by mkultra at 12:44 PM on May 22, 2009

A brewer friend of mine has done beer tastings for the last two 4th of July parties he and his wife has thrown. Last year, the election year, he did a tasting of blue states and red states. He also had one of each of a type so a Red state pilsner and a Blue state pilsner, Red state lager and Blue state lager, etc. Then he handed out sheets and I had us rank our favorites. It was complicated and a blur but a lot of fun. Another year, he simply did a tasting where he's got all the beers listed and you tried to guess what was what. So, whichever beer you guessed was the first one, you'd put a 1, etc. That's a fairly simple tasting and is both education and entertaining. For that you just pour out short pours of each beer maybe three or four sips worth or half an old-fashioned size glass. Include your brewer friend's beer in there as well.

You can probably put together a good list with your friend and both of you go down to a bottle shop and pick out some good brews together.
posted by amanda at 1:15 PM on May 22, 2009

Why not charge $5-10 for the party (it's for charity), and then use donated beer so you don't have to spend $$ on beer? Less complicated for you, promote your friend's beer, and then there's no chance of anyone ranking your friend lower than other beers (which would suck, I'd be sad if I was your friend.)

Also, check MeMail in a minute, I'm sending you all the fundraisers I'm doing for a similar type of thing.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 3:35 PM on May 22, 2009

Where I live, f you don't have a liquor license, you can't sell alcohol. People who do this sort of thing at a public or semi-public gathering will sell beer mugs that can then be filled with free beer.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:35 PM on May 22, 2009

When my old homebrewers club had a blind tasting (~6-8 beers, including a couple "ringers") , we had a scoresheet for each brew, and at the end, compiled & compared. It was interesting to find that the evaluations were so close, especially since most of us had never really considered the subtlety & complexity of taste. I think the end comparison really helped tie the party theme together, so it was memorable, rather than just another party where you come in, drink beer, then leave. Googling beer tasting scoring sheet gives lots of good advice on brew parties, and scoring possibilities; here's one, and here's another (they also have general party suggestions here)

There should be water and some food suitable for palate cleansing, of course. And, a beer tasting party is different from a wine tasting; for one thing, no sane person would avoid drinking their sample, so it'd be ok to re-introduce one of the early beers again, and (this could be a contest point) see if/who recognizes it, vs how many score it better the second time around.

I know you don't want to get into raffles, but I will mention that at least one NPO has an annual auction, and a couple of times a bid item was a “brew of the month”, where the winner got a 6-pack of that month’s brewing. That’s obviously extravagant in your case, but (depending on the generosity of your brewing friend) some significantly scaled down version could be the prize(s). .

Most of all, have fun with this!
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 4:44 PM on May 22, 2009

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