RAVENSWOOD — You can get a shirt dubbing you a Beer Hero if you buy from local breweries as part of a new promotional campaign.
The promotion was created by Big Teeth Productions at 4001 N. Ravenswood Ave., which counts the Malt Row breweries as its neighbors.
With breweries struggling because of the pandemic, Big Teeth co-founder Gregg Jaffe developed a way to promote and drum up much-needed business to support the local craft brewery scene: Offer free T-shirts to people who buy beer at various North Side breweries over the next few weeks.
“I don’t want to lose Malt Row and all our city’s breweries,” Jaffe said. “That’s how we came up with the idea for Beer Hero. They’re lubricating us in our time of need, and we wanted to return the favor to keep them afloat.”
Here’s how you can participate: Order beer from at least three breweries listed on the Beer Hero site by June 20. Participating breweries include LaGrow Organic Beer Co., Empirical Brewery and Urban Renewal on Malt Row. Other independent breweries are included, like Twisted Hippo Brewing, 2925 W. Montrose Ave., and Burning Bush Brewery, 4014 N. Rockwell St.
Save your receipt and fill out a form on the site. Enjoy the beer, and wait for your T-shirt with the Beer Hero logo.
“It’s an awesome idea and perfect timing for us because we just started making home deliveries this month,” said Brent Raska, owner of Burning Bush Brewery.
Keg sales have evaporated as restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery service. About two-thirds of employees at 525 breweries across the nation have been laid off or furloughed, according to an April Brewers Association survey.
The Illinois Brewers Guild successfully lobbied the state March 20 to allow breweries to deliver to people’s front doors. Many of the city’s smaller breweries have switched to curbside pickup and delivery to try and make up for the losses in onsite taproom and keg sales.
The marketing campaign is a pro bono effort Big Teeth staff orchestrated over webcams and smartphones while they continue to shelter at home. Staff at the breweries helped shoot footage in between making deliveries and canning beer for a promotional video, Jaffe said.
“Our breweries are suffering and need our help to let people know they should drink local so they can survive this,” Jaffe said.
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