The House that Beer Built
Cape May County is one of the least-populated counties in New Jersey, yet has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the state. As you might imagine, there is a tremendous need for affordable housing in the county.
Thankfully, the county’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity strives each day to fill that need. Bringing people together to build houses, community, and hope, Cape May’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity seeks to create a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
And, during this time of economic and social uncertainty, when so much is questionable, their mission is more important than ever.
So, when they reached out to us — as well as Cape May County’s other nine breweries — to brew a beer to support their mission with the funds going to build a house right up the street in Upper Township, the answer was, “Yes, yes, a million times yes.”
“This is another way our local area is demonstrating the mindset of a collective community,” says Habitat Cape May Executive Director, Sarah Matthews. “We are all able to lift others in some way and sharing in that process can bring even more people together.”
This is a project — building a home for a local family — is one that’s right up our alley. Director of People Operations Christine Bry saw it as an initiative that the Brew Crew could rally behind.
“It was something where we could combine our specialty, brewing great beer, with Being a Good Neighbor and giving back to the community,” she says. “We routinely say that CMBC is a family-like environment, providing stable, year-round employment to members of the community. So, both CMBC and Habitat for Humanity believe affordable housing plays a critical role in strong and stable communities.”
Considering the current pandemic and its associated economic downturn, this project comes at a particularly opportune time.
“Our Core Value of Being a Good Neighbor has been particularly important during 2020 due to COVID-19,” says Christine. “This Habitat project allows us to give back by helping to create a stable housing environment for one Cape May County family.”
The funds raised from this project will go toward building a home for a local family in Upper Township over the next few weeks.
“Being a good neighbor is something that we try to live every day doing the small things,” says Tasting Room General Manager Chris Costello, “but this gives us a chance to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. I’ve personally participated in a home build before and knew that the Brew Crew would have a great time coming together to see progress actually take place.”
And the Brew Crew will be out there, swinging hammers and cutting up building materials, over the next few weeks… if the weather cooperates.
“The opportunity to volunteer on the build site is how we are turning caring into doing,” Christine says. “Our employees have volunteered to assist in building. This volunteering not only makes us feel good intrinsically, but I am sure we will embody another one of our Core Values: Have Fun!”
For one member of the Brew Crew, Packaging Operator Paul Greer, Cape May Brewing Company’s participation in the initiative is personal, as he’s been a member of Habitat Cape May’s Board of Directors for several years.
“The need in Cape May County is mindboggling,” Paul says. “The families that we build homes for, each one has a story that just tears your heart out. But we’ve got a good thing going, not only with this particular initiative, but we’ve got a very active group of people — we call them the Nail Bangers — who get together each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday to help build homes in the area. There’s a great fraternity that grows from that, and I’m proud that Cape May Brewing Company — as well as all of the other breweries in Cape May County — have this opportunity to join us.”
Amazingly, this is the first time all ten breweries in Cape May County have collaborated on a charitable initiative together.
“Bringing together all of the breweries in Cape May County for a central cause is a great idea, not only to raise funds for the local chapter of Habitat but to bring together our brewing community to help build the greater community,” Chris says. “It’s great when our neighbors and friends in the industry can come together for the greater good.”
So, all ten breweries are collaborating on The Beer that Built the House, a robust porter featuring a vigorous malt blend, a very subtle bitterness, and a hefty addition of chocolate sweetness from fudge donated by Laura’s Fudge in Wildwood.
“Who doesn’t love fudge! In a beer!” Christine says. “It’s the perfect time of year for a robust porter to be added to our lineup of tasty Tasting Room beers for the fall.”
Each brewery will have The Beer that Built the House on tap, planned for the remainder of 2020, and a few of the other breweries are planning to can it up.
“I’m personally super excited to try this beer out,” Chris says. “We are unofficially now in porter season, and a porter with fudge is even better! Whenever drinking a beer is for a good cause you can sign me up!”
In addition to The Beer that Built the House, each brewery will be selling raffle tickets for $5 each, with the winner receiving a swag bag containing merch from every participating brewery.
“The enthusiasm generated from this project is so encouraging in a time when home means so much,” says Sarah from Habitat Cape May.
The Beer that Built the House releases from each brewery on November 7th. Be sure to try them all!