A craft brewery in downtown Spartanburg has launched a campaign to support a fellow beer venture in Tampa, Fla. affected by Hurricane Irma.
Kolby Garrison, owner of Hub City Tap House, said the campaign started after he saw on social media that Cigar City was giving away free “crowlers” of water to help victims of Hurricane Irma. Crowlers are 32-ounce cans typically filled with beer.
“Everybody’s in business to make money,” said Garrison, who opened Hub City Tap House, the Upstate’s first brewery-cidery in 2015 with his former business partner Michael Wilcox and their two wives. “For us, it’s about what you do with that money at the end of the day. We talked about it with our employees and they were immediately on board.”
Cigar City spokeswoman Tiffany Cox said the brewery gave away 1,015 crowlers filled with water that it purified through its own in-house filtration system.
Garrison had originally planned to give funds raised by the campaign to Cigar City’s distributor Oskar Blues, which had agreed to credit the Tampa brewer’s account, he said.
On Thursday, Cigar City asked Garrison to direct the funds to Oskar Blues’ CAN’d Aid Foundation, a nonprofit formed in 2013 to provide disaster relief through various programs.
Cox said the company was “completely floored” by Hub City Tap House’s generosity.
“Our crowler initiative felt like the right thing to do with our friends, family members, and neighbors in need,” Cox said. “We honestly didn’t know that people outside of our region caught wind of it. For this reason, we felt wrong accepting these donations and instead have encouraged the amazing team at Hub City Tap House and Ciclops Cyderi to pay the kindness forward and donate the raised funds to one of the numerous organization helping those impacted by this storm.
“We are continually humbled to be a part of such a generous and community focused industry.”
Garrison said Hub City Tap House had made its own preparations for the storm, which was originally expected to carve a swath of destruction through South Carolina.
In the end, the storm turned west and did minor damage in the Palmetto State.
“We purified 500 gallons of water that we were ready to deliver to people affected by Hurricane Irma, and were ready to provide more,” Garrison said. “Fortunately, it wasn’t needed. We put the water back into brewing.
“It’s a significant cost to purify water,” he added. “We just felt like it was the right thing to do.”
Garrison said he will accept cash donations at his brewery through Saturday. He has also set up a GoFundMe page for the campaign.
As of Thursday, CAN’d said it had provided 163,200 cans of water for Hurricane Irma victims.
“Each dollar we raise will go to producing fresh canned water to hurricane victims and other disasters,” Garrison said.
He said Hub City Tap House has already raised $260 for the campaign.
Garrison will announce the final tally on Saturday during Hub City Tap House’s two-year anniversary celebration.
The celebration, which will be held from 4 p.m. to midnight, is inspired by a child’s birthday party. It’ll feature robots, aliens, and dinosaurs. The brewery is encouraging customers to show up in costume.
“We don’t take ourselves too seriously around here,” he said.
A food truck and special beer release will be featured during the celebration.