Last Friday (Nov. 1) the CT Beer Trail helped sponsor the 7th annual Not So Snooty Beer and Wine Tasting Adventure at the New England Air Museum, Windsor Locks CT. As far as tastings go, it was one of the most unique that I have ever been to. People were dressed business casual, a jazz band played as hors d'oeuvres circulated, and all the while planes, helicopters, and large guns stood silent watch over the excited proceedings. Over 500 people attended the tasting.
This event was raising money for the "Hole in the Wall Gang." Founded in 1988 by Paul Newman, this organization is a nonprofit, year-round center that focuses on serving children and their families coping with serious illnesses. In 2011 alone the organization has served over 18,000 kids. Newman started the organization because he wanted to help kids that were less fortunate than him.
The first camp to aid youngsters was founded in CT, and there are now sister camps nationwide that run independently: 14 camps in all. The organization and camps are tied tightly to the community, as each camp does its own fundraising. Maria Gomez, Director of Annual Giving for The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, explained to me that the money that's raised will help send kids to the camp where they will be able to have fun with other children who also have life-threatening illnesses.
Gomez went on to say that they raise all the money themselves and that the exposure the Beer and Wine Tasting offers is a great way to reach an audience that wouldn't otherwise see the organization. She also said that the organization is great because it allows many kids to be sent to camp and it is a wonderful opportunity to educate kids in their own backyard. The only way that the organization works and can continue to provide services is with the involvement of the community, which makes events like this all the more special.
Bryon Turner, founder of the CT Beer Trail, was on hand and helped to sponsor the event as well. "Connecticut's craft beer industry had an outstanding show of support for this event," said Turner, "Once again this community has shown how generous, compassionate, and professional they are."
According to him, more than $4,000 was raised on the raffle alone, and they made more on donations and ticket sales. Turner is an active part of the Bradley Family Day Committee and was the driving force behind getting the local craft beer industry on board for the tasting. Due to the increased interest in the event, the tasting had to be expanded to two of the Air Museum's hangars to accommodate the thirsty crowd.
The CT Beer Trail organized the event to feature every main CT brewery, five brew-pubs, four breweries that are currently under development (known as 'nano-breweries'), and three homebrew shops. In addition to the large amount of CT beer, there were also four breweries from surrounding states that contributed to the event. "Beer was clearly the main event at this year's event," said Turner. "When I first got involved in the Not So Snooty four years ago, there were only a limited number of craft beer producers involved. This year we had 20 craft beer related business on hand to help this worthy cause."
Kathy Maznicki, Bradley Family Day President was on hand as well and said that this was one of the three events that Bradley Family Day put on yearly. According to Maznicki the Beer and Wine Tasting is a very unique event that is marked as special due to the setting, food, variety of vendors (which included beer, wine, and cheese), and the raffle (which included air fare from sponsor Jet Blue, bottles of beer and wine, and a claymore sword from Olde Burnside Brewery). “This evening is all about Connecticut,” said Event Co-chair Kathy Maznicki. “It’s about locally produced beer and wine. It’s about cheese made right here in our home state. It’s also about a special place in Connecticut that helps children and families coping with more than anyone ever should have to.”
Maznicki went on to say, " As Not So Snooty grows and more funds are raised, The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is able to bring hope and joy to more children with serious illness right here in Connecticut and throughout the Northeast."
Mark off you calendars, and watch the CT Beer Trail's website to keep in the know about this event, and many more charitable tastings events coming up, and follow this link to the Beer Trail to see the extended vendor list. For more pictures on the event check out Jere Adametz's Flickr page, and check out the full story on my blog: Malted Musings. Also be sure to follow me on Blogger, Facebook, and Twitter to get all the latest news and opinions about the fast growing world of CT beer!