PITTSBORO — Joan Cunningham never imagined she would help craft a beer, let alone a brew dedicated to the organization she serves.
Cunningham, the President on Chatham Animal Rescue and Education’s (CARE) Board of Directors, has partnered with Pittsboro’s bmc brewing to create “Peace, Love, Paws Blonde Ale,” sales of which — it’s now available at bmc’s tap room at The Plant in Pittsboro and at Breakaway Cafe — will benefit the nonprofit.
“We created a product that reinforces CARE and its values,” Cunningham said. “We’ve got thousands and thousands of new people coming into this community, and outreach and making sure people know what the resources are in the community are is extremely important. So this is just another way of doing that.”
A portion of the proceeds generated from beer sales will go to CARE to help pay for the vet care of its animals, according to Cunningham and bmc brewing owner John Rice.
This is not Rice’s first time working with Chatham-based nonprofits. Bmc brewing works with Abundance NC for its annual PepperFest, in which Rice creates pepper-infused beer and portions of those proceeds go back to Abundance.
“That was the first partnership we’ve done, and that’s been our biggest one to date,” Rice said.
The partnership began when Breakaway Cafe approached Rice with the idea of working with CARE.
“[The owner] of Breakaway is very involved with the organization,” Rice recounted. “So I met with her and Joan, and we came up with the idea of giving it a start and see what happened, where we would go from there.”
The group decided it wanted to go with an “easy-drinking” beer, so Rice suggested a blonde ale, which is known for its simplicity and neutral flavor profile.
“Ours is just a nice, clean, well-balanced, easy-drinking beer with a little more flavor than your standard American lager,” Rice said.
After nailing down the type of beer he was going to create, Rice got to work preparing CARE’s special brew. Two months went by as Rice and Cunningham awaited approval from the N.C. Alcohol Beverage Control for the beer’s packaging, but once the label was approved earlier this month, Rice got the OK to start selling Peace, Love, Paws Blonde Ale.
Rice said so far, the beer has been well-received by the community, meaning it may soon find a permanent place on bmc brewing’s tap.
“In the last couple of weeks, we’re getting more and more feedback that people really enjoy this beer,” he said. “They want to have it available as often as possible … we’re comfortable with the popularity and we do know people are coming in and seeing that it’s to help support CARE, and they’re actually buying it in response to that.”
For Cunningham, she hopes other businesses around Chatham County will carry the new brew, supporting what she believes to be a good cause. In turn, she hopes more people will not only learn more about CARE, but will also learn more about bmc brewing and its location at The Plant.
“We hope that this will work to our mutual advantage,” she said. “We can get more people aware of bmc and help their business out, and they can help us out. So I think it’s a win-win.”
Rice said he’s glad the beer’s popularity is picking up traction, as it goes to what he believes is a community organization doing amazing things in Chatham County.
“Part of the mission of our brewery is to support Chatham County as best we can,” Rice said. “We’re all animal lovers here, so we thought it would be fitting right in with what we’re doing … That’s what this is all kind of about — we can all still enjoy ourselves with every beverage and support a worthy cause along the way.”
The Peace, Love, Paws Blonde Ale is available at bmc brewing at The Plant on 213 Lorax Lane in both pints and cans. The beer is also available at Breakaway Cafe in Pittsboro.
Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter at @HeedenTaylor.
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