Fundraiser celebrates diversity of Illinois-brewed craft beer following challenging Dry January, raises money to support Illinois breweries amid continued uncertainty
CHICAGO, Ill., February 5, 2021 – The Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, the nonprofit trade association that represents Illinois craft breweries, today announced it would release limited cases of assorted Illinois beer as part of a bracket-style fundraiser in March.
Illinois BEERacket gives craft beer fans access to a diverse collection of locally brewed, assorted craft beer in the comfort and safety of their homes. Then, playing off the fun and excitement of March basketball, participants are encouraged to complete their own “Illinois BEERacket,” evaluating the beers in their assorted case on any number of factors such as aroma, creativity and label design.
More than 60 breweries from Chicago to downstate are donating their beer, and a limited number of assorted cases will be available for purchase. Each case will feature a random selection of 24 beers (12 oz. and 16 oz. bottles and cans) and cases will come with a blank Illinois BEERacket on its lid. Fans may choose to evaluate their entries on preset factors such as aroma or creativity or create their own judging criteria entirely. Ultimately, they will decide who gets named champion of their bracket, and why.
The real winners are the individuals who will have the chance to explore Illinois’ craft beer scene, along with the brewers who get to introduce their products to new consumers…all while travel and exploration continues to present a health and safety risk.
The fundraising effort comes on the heels of a difficult Dry January for Illinois breweries and represents a reintroduction of what makes Illinois beer unique: its diversity, creativity and importance to our state’s economic health. In 2019, the state’s craft beer industry had a $3.3 billion economic impact, but the pandemic continues to challenge the industry, particularly during slower winter months.
“Covid-19 continues to reshape our lives and threaten the health of our industry and our small brewery owners,” said Danielle D’Alessandro, executive director for the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. “But we know there is still a tremendous appetite for Illinois-brewed beer. Since people can’t travel around the state as easily as they used to, we’re bringing the variety they crave to them. In turn, they are helping ensure the Guild can continue to support our breweries with critical regulatory guidance and resources during these difficult times.”
As a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization, the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild relies on revenue from its membership dues and large festivals to support breweries and advocate for legislation that promotes growth and removes unnecessary burdens on Illinois breweries, especially in today’s uncertain economic landscape.
Sales for Illinois BEERacket assorted cases open Friday February 12 at 10:00 AM CST at www.illinoisbeer.org/beeracket. Cases are $85 plus processing, with 100 percent of the proceeds supporting the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. Quantities are limited, so people are encouraged to purchase their cases early.
Illinois BEERacket cases will be available for pickup at one of four brewery locations across the state from March 9 through March 12 (normal brewery hours apply). Supporters will be asked to select a pickup location during the sales process. Pickup locations are:
· Revolution Brewing (3340 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60618)
· Mikerphone Brewing (121 Garlisch Dr, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007)
· Skeleton Key Brewing (8102 Lemont Rd #300, Woodridge, IL 60517)
· Keg Grove Brewing (712 E Empire St, Bloomington, IL 61701)
Once the cases are safely at home, participants are encouraged to choose their judging criteria and complete their brackets. Then, they can share to social media and follow along to see how other brackets unfold by using #ILBEERACKET on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For more information and a full list of participating breweries, please visit www.illinoisbeer.org/beeracket.
About the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild
The Illinois Craft Brewers Guild (ICBG) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the development and expansion of the craft beer industry in Illinois. Founded in 1997, ICBG focuses its efforts on member and consumer education, legislative and regulatory advocacy, and the promotion of its member craft breweries. Learn more at www.illinoisbeer.org and follow along on Facebook (Illinois Craft Brewers Guild), Twitter (@IllinoisBeer), and Instagram (ILCraftBeer).