Coopetition in craft beer is all about giving. Breweries give their time, advice, money, resources, and of course—beer. Earlier this summer as the 416 Fires roared through Durango, CO and the surrounding area, many breweries around the state and beyond decided to step up to the plate and help fight fire with beer.
Lead by Ska Brewing in Durango, Save the San Juans Saturday was implemented as a way for breweries to contribute in relief efforts and aid the surrounding communities, economy, and natural preservation all in the spirit of coopetition
“We’re a tourism economy and we lean heavily on the busy summer months, so we all suffer from the fires and subsequent closings.” explains Ska Brewing Founder and long-time Durango resident Dave Thibodeau. “We don’t have cash to give in support, but we do have beer— and lots of it. Beer itself won’t put this fire out, but damnit I’d hook up the world’s longest hose to one of our tanks if it did.”
Ska’s organizing efforts with Save the San Juans Saturday quickly gained the attention of over 30 breweries and craft beer bars in just a few days—including Oskar Blues, Dogfish Head, and Stone Brewing (Ska’s distribution partner). Together, the breweries raised more than $28,0000 for Durango’s Community Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) by donating funds from beer sales. “Oskar Blues and SKA are cut from the same unconventional ColoRADo cloth and have built our breweries in places we love to play in the outdoors,” explains Chad Melis, Marketing Director for Oskar Blues Brewery. “Hell, you can’t spell oSKAr without SKA. We’re proud to help lead the charge in helping their community respond to the 416 Fire.” You can see the full list of breweries who participated at radcraftbeer.com/savethesanjuanssaturday.
It will take more than breweries to help tourist driven communities rebound—the area is relying on customer, vacationers, and craft beer-lovers to come support the local economies affected by the 416 Fires. “Evacuees (including some of our employees) have returned to their homes and the National Forest is open again— but it’s not exactly business as usual,” explains Thibodeau. “Now more than ever it’s an important time to spend tourism dollars in Durango. We’ll be here with cold beer when you arrive.”