Continuing with its mission of community support, the Durango Bootlegger’s Society, the local consortium of Durango’s four award-winning craft breweries, hosted a record “Pint for Pint” blood drive on Halloween, adding 74 pints of blood to the United Blood Services reserve. “This Bootlegger’s Pint for Pint blood drive was the largest in its history (maybe even in Durango),” said Charlene Smith of United Blood Services. “We had 62 donors processed resulting in 74 units of life-saving blood. Also,
it was the first time this drive surpassed processing 50 donors, so we are extremely pleased and hope to continue to grow this blood drive each year. It’sgreat to see a community come together to help others.”
Launched in 2003, “Pint for Pint”encourages fans of Durango’scraft brews to donate a pint of blood and receive a voucher for a pint of beerat their favorite local brewery. The breweries – Carver Brewing, DurangoBrewing, Ska Brewing and Steamworks Brewing companies – engage in a friendly“competition,” with a representative from the “losing” brewery (the one with
the fewest blood donors) required to die their hair red.
“We congratulate Durango Brewing forencouraging the most donors,” said Brian McEachron, Steamworks co-founder,
acknowledging that this year Steamworks generated the least – by only a coupleof pints. “Our brewer Spencer Roper will be sporting a new ‘red’ hair-do thanksto Velvet Monkey.”
The Bootleggers originally launchedPint for Pint in response to United Blood Services’ serious need for donors,
according to Dave Thibodeau, Ska co-founder.“Blood was running short and workerswere having little success securing donations,” he said. “It didn’t take longfor us to conspire and decide a little friendly competition might help raise
awareness. We all asked our patrons to donate a pint of blood and, inreturn, we offered them a pint of beer at their brewery of choice.”
News of the event was picked up bythe Associated Press, garnering the Bootleggers national and international
attention. Even Jay Leno mentioned Durangoand the “beer for blood” drive during one of his opening monologues. The “Pint for Pint” blood drive has sincee merged as a “best practice” and been modeled by blood services organizations
throughout the country, according to McEachron.“The notion of ‘beer for blood’ hascaught on within blood service industry and the craft brewingcommunity,” said McEachron. “Cascade Regional Blood Services in Tacoma, Wash.has done a number of them and Stone Brewing has modeled the practice. We hearabout more events each year.”The Bootleggers have also led the way in
the craft brewing industry for collaborative fundraising by establishing theDurango Bootlegger’s Society Fund under the auspices of the Community Foundation of Southwest Colorado. The fund enables tax-deductible donations.
“The fund is a unique situation that helps to cement our philanthropic footprint in Southwest
Colorado,” said Thibodeau. “It has become a model for other small breweries/businesses to emulate in other communities across the country.”“Collectively we’ve always had adesire to help out the people of our communities who have always supported us,”
said McEachron, reminding that the Bootlegger’s mission is to raise theawareness and understanding of craft beer by rallying around the needs of thecommunity.
For further information regarding the Community Foundation of Southwest Colorado, or to contribute to the Bootlegger’s Society Fund on-line, visit www.swcommunityfoundation.org.