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“Each year, we eagerly anticipate this annual initiative, affording us the chance to raise an astounding amount of money to help alleviate food insecurity in the greater Philadelphia region.”

Friends Giving 2020

This year, more than ever, it’s important for us to live our Core Value of Be a Good Neighbor. The global COVID pandemic has hit everyone hard, and we’ll do whatever it takes to lend a hand.

So, for the third year in a row, we’ve partnered up with a number of breweries in the Philadelphia and South Jersey area on Friends Giving: our annual potluck-style IPA.

Over the past two years, this initiative has raised more than $200,000.

“Each year, we eagerly anticipate this annual initiative, affording us the chance to raise an astounding amount of money to help alleviate food insecurity in the greater Philadelphia region,” says Marketing Director Alicia Grasso. “In addition, we see the all too infrequent opportunity to commiserate with some of the best brewers in our area. It’s a fantastic opportunity, and we’re thrilled to see it come together each year.”

Double Nickel out in Pennsauken originally came up with the idea of gathering together some of the best breweries in the area to brew a beer to help knock out food insecurity in the area. Then, to keep things interesting, they had the idea of each brewer supplying an unknown variety of hop to the recipe for the IPA.

The first year, they invited us, Tonewood in Oaklyn, and Urban Village in Philly. This year, we’ve added Source Farmhouse Brewery up in Colts Neck to the group. In addition, we’ve expanded the initiative to Virginia, with Solace Brewing Company and Crooked Run Brewing, both in Sterling, Ocelot Brewing Company in Dulles, and Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn.

“We’ve been planning to grow the initiative for the past year or so, and we thought the best way to do it would be to find another nearby brewery to join us as a host brewery, to do what we’re doing, and come together there to collaborate,” says John Dalsey, Marketing Director at Double Nickel. Their Head Brewer, Drew Perry, called upon his contacts in Northern Virginia to join the initiative. 

“It was a natural fit,” John says.

Considering the current global pandemic, we were concerned that we might not be able to undertake the annual initiative this year. However, we quickly realized that the current situation made it that much more important.

“Food insecurity this year is slated to be a much larger issue than in the previous two years,” John says, “so it was important to us, not only to make sure that Friends Giving would happen again, but also to ensure that it could grow in scope.”

This year’s Friends Giving IPA is the second release under Double Nickel’s non-profit arm, CollaborAid, created to carry on the mission of turning creativity, camaraderie, community, and collaboration into support for local food-insecure families.

“An initiative that began its life as a simple name idea for a beer has developed into something much bigger than we could have ever hoped,” says Brian Needham, Head of Sales at Double Nickel.

As in the previous two years, nearly all of the material used to brew the beer — from the malt and hops to the final aluminum cans — have been donated by the suppliers.

“We’re happy to bring a few pounds of hops to the table for Friends Giving each year, this time bringing a box of Cashmere as our contribution to the ‘potluck’ aspect of the collaboration,” says Production Planning and Special Projects Manager Brian Hink, “but it’s even more gratifying, year after year, to see our suppliers donate their time and products to the cause. Everyone from our malt suppliers to our aluminum can suppliers — even our PakTeks — are donated so that all of the proceeds can go toward alleviating food insecurity. It’s really an awesome thing to see.”

And, for the third year in a row, Dietz and Watson of Philadelphia, PA, is making a substantial donation to the cause as well, by contributing food donations equal to the amount raised through the initiative.

The three previous beneficiaries of the initiative, Cathedral Kitchen of Camden, NJ, Philabundance of Philadelphia, PA, and Virtua Health’s Mobile Farmers Market, based in Camden and Burlington counties, are now joined by the Community FoodBank of NJ. With the addition of the four Northern Virginia breweries, Loudoun Hunger Relief, based in Leesburg, VA, will receive the proceeds from the beer brewed at Solace Brewing Company.

The concept of a “potluck IPA” is something that breweries came up with to go along with the Friends Giving theme and requires each brewery to donate an amount of hops without discussing the varieties beforehand. 

“Everyone’s really stoked about this year’s brew!” John says. “The potluck component — not knowing which hops each brewer is bringing — is something that is so unique to this collaboration, it’s really a wild card. It says a lot about the caliber of breweries involved as well as the overall collaborative spirit that is at the heart of this initiative.”

This year’s Friends Giving IPA, a double dry-hopped, 7% ABV IPA, contains Idaho 7, Idaho 7 Cryo, Sabro, Amarillo, Simcoe, Cashmere, and Citra. The result is a smooth and easy-drinking IPA featuring a soft, straw haze and a fluffy white head with notes of peach, apricot, and tangerine.

Double Nickel has already released Friends Giving, with limited distribution available throughout New Jersey, the Philadelphia area, Chicagoland, California, Oregon, North Carolina, Florida, and New York, with the Virginia-based Friends Giving seeing distribution throughout Virginia and Washington, D.C.

You’ll be able to find this year’s Friends Giving wherever Double Nickel products are sold. Help us make a difference to some hungry folks in our area and check it out!