Cahaba Brewing Company’s taproom manager John Andrew Fife sits at the bar in their new headquarters and praises the events of the previous evening. “We had a huge turnout for Sawyerville Day Camp. It was a really great night,” he said.
Since its move to the Continental Gin building in Avondale, Cahaba Brewing has hosted a charity event titled Goodwill Wednesdays — the first on January 27 — to benefit Birmingham’s Bare Hands Junior Board, a nonprofit organization best known for the annual Dia de los Muertos festival.
The brewery has been doing charity events sporadically since their launch in 2011, but the new location prompted an update in event planning. “We started doing the Taco Trivia Tuesdays and that was just one of the ideas we had that we wanted to do,” Fife said, “and we wanted to dedicate one [day a week] to make it a charity night and we settled on Wednesdays.”
While the profit donation for the charity events used to be a dollar for every beer sold, that is no longer the case. “Now it’s a portion of all proceeds, usually between 10 and 20 percent,” Fife said. “So it’s T-shirt sales, beer sales, everything is included in the portion of proceeds.”
In addition to helping make a difference, patrons of Goodwill Wednesdays are treated to live music from local bands, pop-up dinners from local restaurants like Sitar Indian Restaurant or Chai Oriental Market, and various local food trucks. One food truck the brewery works with is the Hot Tag food truck, which products from various breweries in their recipes.
Applying for a date on the Cahaba Brewing Goodwill Wednesday calendar is a fairly easy process, through a link set up on the company’s webpage. While nonprofits can get on the calendar without difficulty, Goodwill Wednesday is so popular that it may be as long as three months after application before a charity gets its turn.
With their events calendar growing, Cahaba Brewing has become determined to provide patrons with entertaining weekly events that don’t just include Wednesdays. In addition to a disc golf league putting games on Monday nights Fife said they hope to turn Thursday into a game night with ping-pong or cornhole. He added that there has been discussion of combining the game nights with Goodwill Wednesdays in the hopes of encouraging support of the charities they work with.
“Or [we could] give the organization the option and say ‘Hey if you want to have a charity event here maybe we could help you host a ping pong tournament or a cornhole tournament’ to get more interest and some more people who may not know about that charity but still get them out and supporting it,” Fife said.
Advertising for each charity event, however, is a joint effort between Cahaba and the organization of the week. According to Fife, it is within the said charity’s realm of responsibility to begin the advertising process. Once a charity secures their date, they are encouraged to take the lead in advertising.
“They make Facebook events and other forms of advertisement and then we help them promote the event as well,” he said. “It’s their responsibility in the beginning to get things started, and then we just help promote them with posters or whatever to get the word out more. A lot of charities have large mailing lists that they’ll send out to all of their supporters to let them know the event is coming up. We even had an event two weeks ago that had radio spots.”
According to Fife, the number of people in attendance each Wednesday depends on the charity being highlighted that week and on the amount of promotion work done. “It doesn’t matter what charity it is we’re going to help as much as we can but some of them take more initiative so that makes it easier for us to get the word out, too,” he said. “So it really all just depends on how much preparation has been done.”
Cahaba Brewing has also made buying their to-go options, 64-ounce growlers, and 32-ounce crowlers, a way to support nonprofits. “We know that it’s the middle of the week and when people get off of work they need to go home and feed their family or do whatever they need to take care of,” Fife said. “But they can still support the charity by picking up growler or ‘crowler’ to take home with them.”
Fife said the Goodwill Calendar for the summer will include events benefiting the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Comprehensive Cancer Center June 8, and Triumph Services Inc., an organization that provides community-based support to individuals with disabilities, June 15.
hopFor more information on Cahaba Brewing Company and Goodwill Wednesdays, visit Cahaba Brewing’s website at cahababrewing.com or visit their Facebook page to see more Goodwill Wednesday events coming up soon. For organizations interested in securing a date for Goodwill Wednesday, go to cahababrewing.com/goodwill-wednesdays/ and contact Caitlin Blackerby.