Community Comes Together for Kerri's Cure
By: Diane M. Ross February 6, 2016
On average it could take a few weeks to finish three kegs of beer, unless you were at Fair Winds Brewing last Friday for their release of Kerri's Cure, which took the crowd of over one hundred people just under three and a half hours to finish.
"These probably won't make it past 5:30," Wes Rabusseau, a server at Fair Winds Brewing, said around 2:30 p.m shortly after the doors opened. "We knew it would be busy, but the crowd got bigger a lot quicker," Rabusseau said as he poured another pint for a customer.
The event was a fundraiser to support the family of Kerri Rose, who passed away a few short weeks ago as a result of cancer. Kerri and her husband, Matt Rose, founded Forge Brew Works in Lorton, Virginia, which opened their doors in 2013. Shortly after finding out she was pregnant with their first child last March, Kerri Rose was diagnosed with cancer. As soon as she gave birth to their son, Lance, last September, she began chemotherapy.
Casey Jones, founder of Fair Winds Brewing and friend to the Rose family, initiated what the Washington Post described as a community effort. On January 7th, Jones, along with Charlie Buettner, head brewer at Fair Winds Brewing, collaborated with 20 Northern Virginia breweries to brew Kerri's Cure, a classic Belgian Pale Ale. The proceeds would go to the Rose family.
Kerri passed away just a week after the collaboration.
January 29th marked the day of celebrating her life as the release of Kerri's Cure happened across Northern Virginia.
At Fair Winds Brewing, a diverse crowd began gathering at 2:00 p.m. Parking was limited due to lingering snow banks from the recent blizzard. Patrons outside were shoveling to create more parking spaces. Inside, echoes of people talking could be heard throughout the concrete and steel-based tap room. Most were holding a glass of the same gold-colored liquid.
At the bar you heard "Kerri's Cure" over and over again. Employees wore T-shirts with the beer logo, donated for the event. Bracelets and bumper stickers were also donated and handed out to patrons as they ordered. Empty growlers sat on top of the bar, unable to be filled due to its limited release.
"Pints only," Rabusseau said repeatedly.
Many patrons were seen refilling their glass as soon as it emptied.
"Some say it was released too early, as far as taste," said Bob Adamson, a patron at the bar. He also referred to Virginia's Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC) laws about how and where you get your beer from.
"It seems like the governor wants more breweries in Northern Virginia," Adamson laughed. "It's like they just let it go."
It's as if the energy to create Kerri's Cure was enough to break barriers and sales records, alike. In a market where unique flavors and competition keeps taps flowing; for one day, a community rallied together in support of one of their own.
Follow up story for Kerri's Cure
Determination is a Key Ingredient When Brewing in Virginia
By: Diane M. Ross February 20, 2016
A recent fundraising event at Fair Winds Brewing in Lorton brought over 20 Northern Virginia breweries together to raise money for a local brewery owner battling cancer. “There was an email and it was a true roundtable discussion on how to brew the beer,” said John Lee, sales executive for Heritage Brewing Co., one of the participating breweries who helped brew Kerri’s Cure.
This charitable cause isn’t the only thing special about this event. Bringing the brewers together may have been technically illegal under Virginia laws. It appears the state let it go.
“They found kind of a loophole,” Lee said when asked how brewers got around Virginia’s strict Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) regulations that dictate how beer is brewed and sold.
Since George Washington’s first known beer recipe was scribbled in his notebook back in 1754, Virginia’s beer and wine industry has made a lot of progress and money. Virginia has survived Prohibition and The Great Depression, and has turned into a multi-million dollar market, based on a Virginia Business beer timeline.
As local craft breweries and wineries pop up so does economic growth. The total economic impact from craft brewing in Virginia comes to $623 million and 8,163 jobs, according to the Virginia Manufacturers Association.*
Despite this growth, rules remain arcane. Breweries are licensed to manufacture and sell the beer on premise and to go, and ship only to those retailers who are licensed to sell their beer. Selling beer at a brewery that was not brewed on premise is forbidden unless purchased from an appropriately licensed distributor, according to regulations posted on the Virginia Decoded website.
The brewing collaboration for Kerri’s Cure, where the beer was brewed at one brewery then transported back to individual breweries to sell would seem, according the the law, illegal.
Weaving through the maze of brewing can be daunting, writes Lee Graves in The Business of Beer. In addition to following many procedures at the state and local level, there are other challenges such as zoning, securing water, and using sustainable environmental practices, writes Graves.
In an effort to help new brewing ventures, Virginia’s state alcohol officials conducted a regulatory review in 2011 to discuss guidelines for compliance with regulations, including the use of social media, reported Graves.
In 2012, Governor Bob McDonnell signed a law giving brewery license holders permission to sell their beer for on-premise consumption where it is made, according to Virginia’s Legislative Information System (LIS). Prior to the signing of this law, breweries and wineries without a full service restaurant were limited to offering free samples and selling their product to go, according to a blog posted by Hardwood Park Craft Brewery, which was also the location of the bill signing.
Virginia had 82 active breweries in 2014, nearly double the amount from 2011, as cited in the beer timeline. Today, Virginia has 117 craft breweries, according to Brett Vassey, president and CEO of the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild.
It turns out Fair Winds Brewing was permitted to host a brewing collaboration event “such that afterwards the individual breweries could take the resulting beer back home,” said Katie Kelly of Virginia ABC in a Virginia Craft Beer article, proving the alcohol control bureaucracy can be helpful.