Photo Credit: courtesy of Creature Comforts
Creature Comforts Brewery kicks off its third annual “Get Comfortable” campaign on Wednesday, Nov. 16. The brewery established the campaign in an effort to combat and raise awareness of the poverty in Athens, which has the fifth-highest poverty rate among mid-sized cities in the U.S.
Community involvement is an important pillar of Creature Comforts’ foundation, CEO Chris Herron says. “We knew before we ever opened our doors that we wanted any community that we operated in to be better as a result of us being there,” he says.
The five-month campaign benefits a different nonprofit partner each month. This year’s partners are Action Ministries, The Ark, Athens Area Homeless Shelter, Athens Community Council on Aging and The Sparrow’s Nest, all organizations that target the areas Get Comfortable is focusing on, such as hunger and homelessness.
Creature Comforts will host one partner each Wednesday for a month—a designated "community" tour day—and proceeds from the limited edition “Get Comfortable” brew, as well as profits from brewery tours and sales on Wednesdays, will go to the partners.
The Athens Area Homeless Shelter will be the first nonprofit hosted, although Community Outreach Coordinator and Human Resources Manager Katie Beauchamp says the total funds raised after five months will be split equally among the organizations, rather than each getting the money raised in a specific month. After a successful 2015–16 campaign that raised $65,000, surpassing the $50,000 goal, this year’s target is $100,000.
“We have been provided with a unique opportunity through the brewery to have a platform from which to speak to a large audience of people,” Herron says. “We have always felt like it is our responsibility to use that platform for something more than selling beer. Whether that is encouraging people to crave curiosity so they can find their passion, or helping drive awareness, increase engagement and provide support to the nonprofits tackling the challenges of our community, we just feel it is the best way for us to use our voice.”
In addition to the weekly events at the brewery, partners of Get Comfortable will also be hosting events and raising funds for the campaign. Businesses partnering with Creature Comforts include 1000 Faces Coffee, carpenters Sons of Sawdust, Condor Chocolates and New West Records.
Besides socializing, touring and drinking good beer, patrons can help make handmade items useful in both the household and in a shelter. Last year, brewery patrons put together kits with things like blankets, cleaning supplies and hygiene items.
A discount of $2 off the tour is offered if guests bring items to donate. A list of acceptable items is at getcomfortableathens.com and is updated as the nonprofits and their individual needs change. “We’ll reach out to the nonprofits to see if they need anything specific, then work off of what they need most,” Beauchamp says.
The nonprofits will change each month, and so will the beers. Creature Comforts may be comfortable, but it’s not a creature of habit.
“The brewers change the recipe throughout the season, so it allows them to play with the hops,” Beauchamp explains. “IPAs. Lagers. We like to change it up. It gives them a chance to be creative as well.”
This article has been updated to correct the Get Comfortable tour schedule.