At breweries across Delaware, there will be nine beers on tap under the same name, each with a distinct flavor and twist but all united to raise awareness of the struggling craft beer industry.
The Autumn Arch Beer Project, Revelation, Volunteer, Stewarts, 38-75, Blue Earl, Bellefonte, Midnight Oil, Dew Point, and others are brewing an India pale ale named DelaWeAre to celebrate the First State’s craft breweries after a hard year.
Early in the pandemic, Autumn Arch Beer Project founders Dan and Jimmy Vennard were inspired to try a different sort of collaboration: an open-source recipe under a single name to raise money and awareness for a cause.
There have been similar brews produced nationwide, including the All Together campaign for the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation. The Black is Beautiful beer produced last summer put a light on social justice and systemic racial inequality, raising funds for local organizations that support equality and inclusion.
Dan Vennard proposed to run a similar campaign for the Delaware Brewers Guild.
“The guild has really supported breweries like ours during this time, especially when it comes to supporting legislation. When Brews By the Bay [the guild’s festival] was canceled, we just thought we had to do something to show our support and raise some money for it,” Vennard told Delaware Business Times.
The craft brewery industry has been hit with restrictions like indoor capacity limits, while the return on can sales is not as lucrative as patrons drinking in a taproom. The Delaware Brewers Guild is serving as the craft brewery’s voice with Gov. John Carney’s office as he continues to re-evaluate restrictions, especially as vaccine efforts ramp up.
“With the beer industry being hit so hard by COVID-19, it is nice to see everyone banding together for such a great project,” said Kim Willson, the guild’s executive director. “The name of this IPA, DelaWeAre, is reflective of these brewers and their teams. They live, work and play in Delaware and are passionate about the communities in which they serve.”
The hope is that each brewery will donate a portion of its proceeds from the sale of the special beer to the state guild.
The Vennard brothers reached out to some of their friends in the industry, while also soliciting more partners through the guild. The IPA was selected as a craft style because it was “king” on the market, Dan Vennard said.
“Instead of saying a specific style, we left that up to brewers. That way, if they have a specialty in Hazy IPA or West Coast, they can do it their way and make it theirs,” he said.
Revelation Brewing Company in Rehoboth Beach released their version of DelaWeAre in late January, with owner Patrick Staggs calling it a beer for both worlds.
“We believe in mastering the base styles before we start adding our own twist, so this has a crisp, flavor with the juice and flavor of a Hazy IPA,” Staggs said. “It’s been selling very well, and we have people coming in wanting to try it.”
Each brewery will be releasing their version of the beer in the next few weeks, with no set schedule. Autumn Arch is already working on their version, but Vennard said he prefers to wait to release on March 9 to surprise visitors.
“Part of the appeal is seeing the twist of each beer you try. I remember when All Together l came out, I bought some, knowing it was going to go to a great cause and try something you haven’t had before,” Vennard said.
Each brewery will be releasing their version of the beer between now and March 15. Visit their individual Facebook pages and websites for specific dates.