Montrose Brewery Gives Back to the Community
by Beverly Corbell
Jul 30, 2011 | 3162 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<b>TAP NIGHT</b> — Nigel Askew, co-owner of the Horsefly Brewing Company, holds a photo that was given to the brewery by the Black Canyon Boys and Girls Club in appreciation of Community Tap Night, held every Tuesday at the Horsefly to benefit local nonprofits. (Photo by Beverly Corbell)
TAP NIGHT — Nigel Askew, co-owner of the Horsefly Brewing Company, holds a photo that was given to the brewery by the Black Canyon Boys and Girls Club in appreciation of Community Tap Night, held every Tuesday at the Horsefly to benefit local nonprofits. (Photo by Beverly Corbell)
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MONTROSE – Business has been great in the three years that the Horsefly Brewing Company has been open, and for the past year, the business has been sharing some of that success with nonprofits in the Montrose area.

On Tuesday nights, the Horsefly holds Community Tap Night, where 75 cents of every beer sold goes to a nonprofit that has signed up in advance.

The amount of money raised isn’t a huge, but every little bit helps nonprofits like the Black Canyon Boys and Girls Club, which has twice been a Tap Night recipient, raising more than $100 each time.

Justin Kiehl, executive director of the youth club, said Tap Night is a “really neat thing” that he experienced just a week after he and his wife moved to Montrose in January.

“It was my first trip to the Horsefly, and I found out they had amazing burgers,” he said. “That’s one of the first things you look for when moving to a community – where all the good food is at.”

Besides raising some funds for the nonprofit, Tap Night was a lot of fun, even though they didn’t have a huge turnout, Kiehl said.

“I’m doing a mailer and sending it out to previous donors asking for $50 donations,” he said. “To get $100 from an event where we didn’t have to do anything but get people there is great.”

Horsefly Brewing co-owner Nigel Askew said the business started Community Tap Night about a year ago, and it has already raised money for Partners, F.I.D.O (future dog park), San Juan Cancer Center, Montrose High Senior Class Party, San Juan Health Care, Montrose Historical Society, Dreamcatcher Therapy, and the Black Canyon Chorus.

Nine more charities have signed up for future Tap Nights through September, including the Montrose Lions Club, CASA’s Voices for Children, Dolphin House, Kids Aid Backpack Program, Montrose and Olathe Special Olympics, Altrusa Club, Friends of the Library, and Community Options.

The idea for Community Tap Night came from a friend who visited Tamarack Brewing in Lakeside, Mont., Askew said, and the owners readily agreed that the Horsefly could copy them.

Nonprofits can sign up for Community Tap Night as often as they like by getting on the waiting list, Askew said. To sign up, go to the Community Tap Night section at www.horseflybrewing.com to download an application.

Askew said he is glad that the Horsefly can give back to the community, in small ways that add up, and that it’s good for business, too.

“It’s about the same [profits-wise] as happy hour,” he said. “We don’t make as much, but it brings in people who might not have been here before.”

The amount that a nonprofit can make depends on its organizers' efforts, since it’s up to them to promote the event, Askew said.

“It varies with the crowd,” he said. “Some people put a lot of effort in it, and contact all their members, and some just sit and wait for people to come in.”

It was a bit of a mix for Boys and Girls Club, Kiehl said.

“We struggled to get people there,” he said. “Some of the staff and leadership went, and some of the board of directors, but it’s not everybody’s cup of tea.”

But for organizations able to pack the place, it can be quite profitable, Askew said.

Packing the place has hardly been a problem since the Horsefly first opened at the far east end of Main Street on Sept. 9, 2009. Askew said one of the first things a friend told him when the first brewery opened was that it was already too small.

But business has been good, even in the tiny original location, so around Labor Day of last year, the Horsefly bought and renovated a building near the center of downtown. With three times the space, Askew was able to buy bigger equipment to keep up with the demand for locally brewed beer, he said, and keeping plenty of beer on hand is his biggest concern.

Since moving to the new location at 800 block of East Main Street, in addition to its signature bar, brought from the old place, and tables inside, the Horsefly now has outdoor dining for 30 or 40 patrons, Askew said.

But that’s as far as the physical expansion will go for now, he said, and future expansion will be in the form of more equipment, so he can meet his main goal: to make more beer.
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