East Brother Beer, a Richmond, CA-based brewery, just announced the release of its newest beer, “Pride & Purpose.” Pride and Purpose is the motto of the City of Richmond, and 20% of the beer’s sales will support the Richmond Rapid Response Fund, an initiative that is working to meet the needs of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Originally, Pride & Purpose beer was brewed as a taproom-only beer, according to company co-founder Rob Lightner, but when they had to close their taproom due to shelter-in-place, they decided to “make lemonade from lemons.”
“People were suffering. There were all these fundraising efforts, and we wanted to participate,” said Lightner. “Our location, Richmond, has always been very important to us, and we thought, ‘let’s start with Richmond’. The fact that the fund was Richmond-focused was probably the most important thing for us.”
Despite the challenging business conditions during the COVID-19 crisis, East Brother Beer has managed to keep all of their 14 employees on the payroll. They recently received a PPP loan.
“Overall, our revenues are way down,” said Lightner. “We had to close the taproom, and we lost all distribution into bars and restaurants. Fortunately, we still sell cans at Whole Foods, BevMo, and local grocery stores. We also pivoted to a curbside pickup program, and we do shipping, but we’re looking forward to getting to the other side of the crisis.”
“We make classic, traditional, clean-finished beers, and we felt the kind of beers we were making and the brand we were building fit in Richmond,” said Lightner. “We have never regretted that decision. We love everything about the city.”
“The fact that you make something, and that product, take ours as an example, becomes part of the location’s identity and then goes out into the world—the sense of ownership,identity and community that is fostered by making something in a location gives people gratification and a sense of accomplishment,” said Lightner.