Lions, Tigers and Beers is an annual fundraiser hosted by Northdown Café Taproom in Chicago, IL to benefit The Wildcat Sanctuary in Minnesota. Along with top breweries in the world, they bring in the rarest beer for a day of great drinking for a great cause! This year the event raised $10,000 for The Wildcat Sanctuary.
A huge thank-you to the 2013 co-sponsors, 3 Floyds, Mikkeller, and Firestone Walker Brewing Co. for helping raise $10,000 for Wildcat Sanctuary!
Also a huge thanks to Surly Brewing Company for collaborating on a beer for the event and raising an additional $2200 for the cats from the sale of the beer in MN!!!
Co-founders Kate Gallagher and Tom Lee recently visited The Wildcat Sanctuary to present the cats with a gigantic check that Buddy the bobcat enjoyed as enrichment.
Please like Lions, Tigers and Beers on facebook to get dates for next year, beers that they will be pouring, prints, shirts, raffle items — and more.
Northdown Café and Taproom co-founder Kate Gallagher worked with veterinarians for a decade before opening the eatery with her husband Tom Lee, and the couple have three cats and two dogs of their own. So it made sense to combine their connections, craft beer and cats, when they wanted to launch a fundraiser at the Chicago restaurant and bar.
“We have the space, a great regular customer base that loves craft beer and relationships that could bring everything together,” says Gallagher, who hosted the second annual Lions, Tigers and Beers benefit in June.
But event planners don’t have to own their own brew pub to tap the craft beer trend. The craft brewing industry’s retail value climbed to around $10.2 billion last year, up from $8.7 billion in 2011, and the volume of beer brewed grew by 15% since 2011, according to the Brewers Association, a Colorado-based trade group. Growth in the industry means it’s easier than ever to find craft breweries just about anywhere. And industry experts say incorporating craft beer into event planning can add local flavor that big-named brews can’t match by offering attendees unique concoctions sometimes created exclusively for a single event.
The laid-back atmosphere craft beer creates also encourages novices to try something new. After all, beer doesn’t have the intimidation factor of fine wine, but can be just as sophisticated and swank. Event planners can feature a single unique brew, add a couple of the clients’ favorites to the bar list, offer tastings of a variety of craft brews or even pair beer with food.
“I would say the best advice for event planners would be to find a product similar to what the client prefers or, if they already have a favorite craft beer, go with that,” says Krystal Logan, associate banquet manager at Kirkwood Station Restaurant & Brewing Co. in Kirkwood, MO. “I think the possibilities with craft beer at events are endless.”
No matter how they incorporate the trend, event planners playing up the craft beer connection should be knowledgeable about the beers they are offering, experts say. They should make sure the brews are true craft beers rather than craft-style offerings from big-named brewers. Local breweries are often a great place to start since brewers are looking for ways to promote their brand, can offer detailed information about their product and can often provide a plethora of support for events, especially if they sign on as co-sponsors.
“Not only do the co-sponsors throw their name and support behind the event, but they also help us ensure a great crowd by supplying rare beer and unique raffle prizes,” says Gallagher.
That’s one reason event planners shouldn’t be concerned about the cost of craft beers. Local breweries are frequently willing to negotiate with event planners in the area in order to build their brand. What’s more, many clients are willing to pay a premium for unique offerings and experiences and true beer connoisseurs see it as an investment in a good time and a good product.
“I don’t think event planners should be concerned at all about cost,” says Logan, whose brewery-restaurant offers its own space for meetings and events as well as catering services and about a dozen of its brews on tap. “As an event planner myself, I think it makes the events more unique, and the beer truly is at a great price. Not only do you get your money’s worth, you are also supporting your local economy.”