PITTSBORO — Brandi Morris, co-owner of Red Moose Brewing in Pittsboro, has always been a fan of actress Betty White.
She has fond memories of watching the hit TV show “Golden Girls” with her great grandmother and seeing White play the ditzy character Rose Nylund — one of White’s most famous television roles.
“Knowing that her 100th birthday was coming up, we actually started talking about doing a 100th birthday party for her with a fundraiser,” Morris said. “We came up with the idea of finding a local animal rescue or something because she [White] was known to be such a huge animal lover.”
White died on Dec. 31, just a couple of weeks shy of her Jan. 17 milestone birthday. Still, Morris felt it was important to host the fundraiser to honor the late television star. So on Monday — on what would have been White’s 100th — Red Moose Brewing partnered with Carolina Tiger Rescue in Pittsboro for its own fundraising event.
Susan King Cope, the director of development with Carolina Tiger Rescue, located at 1940 Hanks Chapel Rd., said she quickly agreed to be a part of the fundraiser with Red Moose Brewing.
“Advocacy is something that’s really important to Carolina Tiger Rescue, and as Betty White was a lifelong advocate, we just really feel that she was somebody that aligned with our mission,” Cope said. “We just thought that was a good time to celebrate the life of someone who cared so deeply about animals.”
Morris and her family created a special beer for the fundraiser: a citrus and spice infused witbier named “Betty Wit” in honor of the late actress. For every pint of Betty Wit sold, the brewery will give $1 to Carolina Tiger Rescue. Morris said this will continue until the keg of Betty Wit runs out.
Several community members came out to support the fundraiser on its first night. Next to the 12 beer taps, a picture of White was on display. Episodes of the Golden Girls played on each of the taproom’s televisions, and Morris and her daughter wore matching Golden Girls pants.
Carolina Tiger Rescue had a table set up in the taproom at Red Moose where customers could buy CTR merchandise or donate toilet paper, sunscreen, fruit, meat and other things needed to run the sanctuary.
“It takes a lot of money to take care of a hungry tiger, and the money that we raise goes directly to support all of the care that we give to the animals,” Cope said. “By enjoying a Betty Wit beer, people not only get to pay tribute to Betty White, they get to support a new organization or a new brewery in the community. It’s a win-win as far as I’m concerned.”
Betty Wit ended up being the most-sold beer on Monday evening, and Carolina Tiger Rescue saw several customers buying their merchandise and bringing in items to donate.
Morris said she feels having the Carolina Tiger Rescue fundraiser in honor of White was the perfect way to say “thank you” to the beloved star for her work and to honor her legacy as an animal activist. The Red Moose owner hopes to make the Betty White fundraiser an annual event — as a way to memorialize the star, recognize her activism for animals and, ultimately, thank her for being a friend.
“One of the things she was most known for was her love of animals and being such a huge champion for animals, so we knew that we wanted to make this our first fundraiser,” she said. “I think that she would be honored to be supporting the cats and have the funds being raised in her name.”
Red Moose Brewing is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays.
Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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