First Sip Brew Box fundraising to support Pittsburgh's craft brewery industry during coronavirus | Drink | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

First Sip Brew Box fundraising to support Pittsburgh's craft brewery industry during coronavirus

click to enlarge PHOTO: FIRST SIP BREW BOX
Photo: First Sip Brew Box

Craft beer is one of the many areas of the service industry that took a hit earlier this month as restrictions were placed on restaurants and bars due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Dennis and Sammie Guy, founders of local beer gear subscription box First Sip Brew Box, have felt a similar hit. Though they aren’t brewers, the pair have seen their online subscription sales come to a “grinding halt” since the outbreak. With their craft beer family in mind, the Guys have launched the “Stand Strong” Support Your Local Breweries Campaign to keep their subscriptions operational while giving back to the industry. 

“Once we realized the effects on our local economy due to COVID-19, we knew the craft beer industry would be caused to fumble and we wanted to do something to help them get back up,” says Guy. 

Though many breweries are still open — they are considered to be life-sustaining, per Gov. Tom Wolf’s order on March 19 — can and growler sales can only do so much for a brewery’s cash flow. (Breweries attribute 20% to 30% of all traditional revenue to can sales, according to Guy.) 

The campaign centered around a limited-edition First Sip Brew Box shirt that reads, “Stand Strong — Support Local Breweries.” A portion of the revenue from each shirt sale will go back into the craft beer community.

Anyone who holds a subscription to First Sip Brew Box will receive a shirt in their monthly box. They are also being sold individually on the First Sip website. Proceeds will go to brewery staff affected by the outbreak. The Guys are currently working to identify those most in need.

As they move forward with the campaign, the Guys are hoping to find a sponsorship that will help them feature breweries most affected by the outbreak in their subscription box, to share “stories of small breweries that made it through COVID-19.”

“COVID-19 has knocked craft beer to its knees but we need to plan for the future as well as the present,” says Guy. “And that is what we are doing.”

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