Pour an ice cold glass of good vibes and let us introduce you to Brewgooder - the craft beer that’s making a huge difference.
What if you knew that with every beer you bought, you helped to provide clean water to thousands of people all over the world who need it most?
When he was 22, Alan Mahon worked on an international development project in Nepal and fell ill after picking up a parasite from contaminated water. It made him realise how lucky he was to live in the UK and have access to the basic stuff, where someone born in the same moment as him, who lived somewhere without clean water, would have the odds stacked against them. It was this thought (and a love for craft beer) that inspired the beginning of Brewgooder.
“Being young and naïve I felt there could be a way to connect the thing I liked drinking and talking about with my friends, with an issue that I’d like to dedicate my life to trying to help solve. In my head that was a beer that helped fund access to clean water for people and that didn’t sound stupid in my head at all, so I went for it.”
So in 2016, Alan joined forces with his friend Josh Littlejohn (who started Social Bite) to launch Brewgooder on World Water Day with a simple aim - to provide clean water to 1 million people by donating 100% of profits to clean water charities. With the help of BrewDog - who brew their beer at zero margin - they created something that helps people to make a difference as they catch up with their friends. Although, the ‘brewing’ part didn’t come as easy as Alan first thought…
“The first batch I ever brewed by hand back in August 2015 was an absolute disaster. The night before I was meant to sell it at an event in Edinburgh 300 of the 1000 or so bottles I brewed began exploding in various locations around my flat. Me and my flatmate at the time disposed off them in any way we could. We took a fair few to the big black, hatch-operated bins that are everywhere in Edinburgh city centre and it was like a scene from the movie ‘Fury’. It was ‘fire in the hole’ as we disposed one by one of grenades of deadly malt, hops, water, yeast and glass. It was terrifying and utterly demoralising at the time, but I can look back and laugh and thank god I didn’t try and go it alone in the brewing game because that could have gotten very messy.”
Since getting the beer side of things perfected, Brewgooder have helped to fund 72 projects (which range from well repairs to new installations) that have given 53,381 people in Malawi access to clean water. In their first project alone, they installed two solar-powered wells in a village called Chiluzi in the Dedza region of Malawi that helped to support around 3,000 people (including a school of 1,500) with clean water. This also helped to support an antenatal clinic, two school feeding programs and a vegetable garden - all thanks to the hard work of Alan and the team, and people like us who decided to get a round of Brewgooder at the pub.
Recently, they launched their Honesty Box - where you can pay anything from 1p to however much you think a case of craft beer that changes people’s lives is worth. They also have their Jingle Wells appeal - a festive campaign to fix 12 broken wells in Malawi, bringing clean water access to over 3,750 people in the New Year. All of these projects help to introduce people to what they could do, and for Brewgooder, they want to make sure that everyone knows exactly where their beer money is going:
“More and more, we’re working with super-transparent NGOs and charities to deliver our projects. Every level of detail can be accurately measured and communicated. From the GPS coordinates of the village, to the number of people we help, all the way through to how long each well would take to fill a 20-litre bucket. This is next level and helps make our impact real for the people who choose to drink our beer”
For us, Brewgooder is a great example of how you can make a difference just by doing what you usually do anyway. We spoke to Alan about the impact of social businesses like Brewgooder and there are loads of options out there to make choices that have a positive impact. Especially as it comes up to Christmas, we can all shop local or with brands that do good and really make a positive impact (even when we’re out for a few with our friends while they’re home over the festive season). For Brewgooder, they’re getting closer and closer to their goal of providing clean water to 1 million people, and it all starts with a beer.
Follow Brewgooder on Instagram at @brewgooder