“Philanthropy in action looks like a lot of people drinking beer, partying at a concert, or eating the world’s longest weiner.” Josh Goldberg, Community and Events Manager for Left Hand Brewing Company is referencing one of Left Hand’s events, the Longmont Oktoberfest which benefits the Education Foundation of the St. Vrain valley, and the Inn Between.
Goldberg facilitates Left Hand’s “High Five” events and puts on five mini beer fest’s throughout the year centered around raising awareness and funds for The Left Hand Brewing Foundation and other organizations. The High Five series includes Hops & Handrails, Longmont Oktoberfest, Leftapalooza, Culture Jam, and Nitro Fest.
The spirit of philanthropy is not a new mission for Left Hand Brewing Company. Twenty-two years ago, founders Dick Doore and Eric Wallace made involvement in the Longmont community and in the greater beer community a priority. Goldberg told The Pint, “As we have blossomed, our ability to inspire and our ability to generate impact for nonprofits grows with us.” Now, with five acres dedicated to their brewing operations and a whole department dedicated to charitable events, their willingness to give back to the community that supported them when “Craft beer wasn’t as cool as it is today,” is ingrained deeply within their identity.
One of Left Hand’s longest standing partnerships is with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS). Left Hand not only provides beer for the 3,000 cyclists at the finish line, but they also put together a team of about 400 people who have raised $1.5 million since 2008. Team Left Hand participates in five of the 80 MS national bikes rides. Money raised goes toward education, housing and transportation modifications for sufferers of MS. Kristin Gibbs of NMSS stated, “We’re so thankful for their leadership with Bike MS — they show how a small team can blossom into something amazing.”
The Left Hand Brewing Foundation, established in 2013, “Affords Left Hand, in partnership with The Longmont Community Foundation, the opportunity to respond quickly and efficiently in times of need in the local community” says Emily Armstrong, PR and media extraordinaire for Left Hand. Shortly after its birth, the LHBF was put to work when Colorado was devastated by floods. Nitro Fest, a circus-themed end-of-the-year bash is dedicated solely to raise money for LHBF.
Left Hand raised over $687,440 in 2015. “You do good things, the world starts finding out, and then you become the voice, which I think, perhaps is the most important part of what we do. What I think our role is at this point, besides raise a ton of money and give back to community, is to inspire.” says Goldberg. The craft beer community as a whole strives to be a force of kindness, and compassion. According to the Brewers Association, the industry total charitable donations to outside organizations totalled $71 million in 2014.
Left Hand was honored by their recognition as 2015 Outstanding Small Business by National Philanthropy Day. Goldberg continually reiterates how crucial it is for breweries, big and small, to prioritize the community around them from the beginning “Just do it. It doesn’t have to be big. It can be anything.”
Goldberg’s motto: “Let’s just throw a great party that people want to be at, and I bet we can make it good for the world.” He realizes that to be relevant, bringing a cool and energetic vibe is perhaps the most important ingredient to a successful event. Attend any High Five event enjoy great craft beer, and be in awe of how fun it is to give back to the community.