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Craft Beer Is Selling Like Crazy at Fundraising Auctions

Posted by Summy Lau

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You know wine is a tried-and-true staple of charity auctions. Cases of custom-labeled or vintage wine, trips to Napa Valley, winery tours and more have always been magnets for bids.

Now another drink has caught the attention of fundraisers: craft beer.

As mentioned in our recent webinar "Ask a Professional Benefit Auctioneer!", auctioneers around the country have recently noted a huge spike in interest in ales. At a 2016 meeting of the National Auctioneers Association, they concluded craft beer is one of the hottest items being sold in fundraising events today. 

How can your organization take advantage of the trend?

Combine craft beer with experiential travel, a consistent top-seller at charity auctions. "Beercations" offering unique tours and tastings, plus deluxe accomodations and travel arrangements, make for one standout auction item.

In the spirit of Oktoberfest, hoist a stein and read on for highlights of Winspire's best lager-loving travel packages, including a brand-new update to the Samuel Adams Boston Experience. (Like all Winspire Experiences, these no-risk trips cost nothing upfront to include in a fundraiser - your nonprofit only pays for the items that sell!)

Then, enjoy a delicious beer chili recipe perfect for brisk fall days.

 West Coast: San Diego Craft Brewing Scene

VIP Brewery Excursion, Chauffeur, Manchester Grand Hyatt 3-Night Stay with Airfare for 2 (3450-2)

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Did you know sunny San Diego is considered the "Craft Beer Capital of America"? Local breweries like Stone Brewing Co., AleSmith Brewing Company and Ballast Point (pictured above) are consistently rated among the top breweries in the world. The Great American Beer Festival’s “Best Small Brewer” Award has gone to San Diego County brewers multiples times, including 2014’s winner, Coronado Brewing Company.

With more than 100 local breweries, microbreweries and pubs in the city, beer enthusiasts are flocking to get a taste of these highly acclaimed hops.

Imagine sending your donors on a 5-hour, VIP custom excursion at 3-4 breweries of their choice. 

Stone-Brewing_Tap_Sm.jpgA personal host will arrange tours and tastings for your winning bidders at participating breweries across San Diego County. With years of experience in marketing craft beer brands, home brewing and cultivating close brewery relationships, your host will secure rockstar access - and unlimited samples - at some of the best breweries in the country just for your donors.

And we haven't forgotten safe transportation: A chaffeured luxury sedan will provide a comfortable ride to the breweries. 

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Deluxe accommodations add the final luxurious touches to this unforgettable Experience. Guests will enjoy a 3-night stay in the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego (pictured right), a luxury waterfront resort featuring a bayside pool, city-view tennis courts and serene spa. Your donors can wake to the sun sparkling off San Diego Bay, head out to Seaport Village and enjoy a walk through the Gaslamp Quarter. Other nearby attractions include PetCo Park, Balboa Park, the Midway Museum and Coronado Island.

For full details and to reserve, visit:

San Diego Craft Brewing Scene

Offering travel in your auction gives your organization access to donor travel budgets.

 East Coast: Samuel Adams Brewery Tour in Boston

Behind-the-Scenes Tour, Post 390 Dinner with Beer Pairing, Fairmont Boston 3-Night Stay with Airfare for 2 (3395-2)

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Boston comes as no surprise for one of our top-selling beercation destinations: This historic city is home to The Boston Beer Company and Samuel Adams®, a pioneer in American craft brewing since 1984.

Culinary Tourism: An Exploding Industry

Fun fact: Culinary tourism generates a whopping $5.5 billion worldwide each year! In fact, studies show 75% of leisure travelers have been motivated to visit a destination precisely because of the culinary scene in that area.

On this unforgettable Experience, your winning bidders will enjoy an exclusive 1-hour small group behind-the-scenes tour and tasting for two at Samuel Adams® Brewery. A staff member will explain the brewing process used to make this craft beer as guests sample a few of the award-winning beers with exclusive tastings and access not available to the general public.

In addition to the tour, we are excited to announce a brand-new feature of this package: dinner at Post 390 Restaurant, a farm-to-table twist on the traditional tavern experience. Their seasonal menu is prepared with fresh ingredients sourced from a local farm or fishery. Post 390 has also curated a local craft beer program and special cocktails for their Tavern to complement the stunning food. With a strong focus on local brewers, the beer menu offers a mix of domestic standards as well as Europe's best.

Boston_Fairmont_Hotel_NIGHT_sm.jpgFinally, winning bidders will enjoy a 3-night stay at The Fairmont Copley Plaza, including daily breakfast for two.

Centrally located in Boston's historic Back Bay, the iconic Fairmont Copley Plaza sits steps away from historic Beacon Hill and the Freedom Trail.

Together with Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library, this landmark hotel is one of the architectural jewels of Copley Square.

For full details and to reserve, visit:

Samuel Adams Brewery Tour in Boston

 Mountain West: Colorado Microbrew

Microbrew Tour, Grand Hyatt Denver 3-Night Stay with Airfare for 2 (8372-2)

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Colorado takes beer seriously.

The state is continually ranked in the top five for U.S. beer production, number of breweries and explosive growth in the microbrew industry. With more than six dozen breweries - many conveniently located near the aptly-sponsored Coors Field ballpark - the designated Denver Beer Triangle (Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins) is considered the apex of brewing.

It’s no wonder Denver has been dubbed the “Napa Valley of Beer”!

Winning bidders will first embark upon the Denver Microbrew Tour, a guided 1.5 mile walking tour through downtown Denver's historic LODO (lower downtown) and Ballpark Neighborhood districts. The tour begins at either Rock Bottom Brewery or Breckenridge Colorado Craft, then stops at four breweries with samples of each. Your donors will learn how microbrews are crafted, the differences between types of beers and fascinating beer trivia, plus enjoy a complimentary pint and souvenir glass to top off the experience.

Denver_16th_Street_Mall_sm.jpgAs for accomodations, this package includes a 3-night stay at AAA 4-Diamond property Grand Hyatt Denver. Donors are placed in the heart of all the exciting attractions that make the Mile High City remarkable, including year-round spectator sports, museums, art galleries, live theatrical performances and shopping (pictured right: Denver's 16th Street Mall downtown).

Along with outside attractions, the hotel itself features an indoor heated pool and 24-hour StayFit™ rooftop gym complete with outdoor jogging track, fitness stations and tennis court.

For full details and to reserve, visit:

Colorado Microbrew

Hot Auction Idea: Set Up a "Craft beer" Tree

In addition to offering a beer trip, you can sell craft beer directly at your auction. (Be sure to check with your local state and municipal laws to confirm you’re allowed to sell alcohol at the event.) You can sell a case of craft beer alone, or try creating a "craft beer tree" for a fun twist.

Similar to a wine tree, set up wooden tiered shelves to hold craft beers of increasing value. (The item can have a fun name like "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" or similar.) Then, auction off the bottles. Auction the entire tree at once, sell by tiers, raffle off bottles - how you sell is up to you, so don't hesitate to try something new! For more on building a craft beer / wine tree, see:

Read Next: "3 Must-try Techniques to Generate More Money from Your Charity  Auction (hint: wine trees!)"

Cooking with Samuel Adams: Boston Lager Pork and Pumpkin Chili

What's the next best thing to sipping quality craft beer? Eating it!

Fall is the perfect time for a hearty bowl of chili, and adding Samuel Adams Boston Lager to the mix heightens and enhances the comforting flavors in this dish.

Samuel_Adams_Pork_Beer_Chili-1.jpgINGREDIENTS

  • 4lbs boneless pork shoulder, cubed
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp ancho chili pepper
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 2 bottles Samuel Adams Boston Lager
  • 1 qt. chicken stock
  • 2 cups cubed pumpkin
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds
  • Grated Jack cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Season pork shoulder with pepper, salt, and ancho chili. Sauté in a large pan until pork is brown.
  2. In a large pot, sweat onions, garlic, and poblano pepper in oil until brown. Add in tomato paste and stir.
  3. Add browned pork to onion mixture.
  4. Deglaze the sauté pan with Boston Lager and reduce by two thirds. Pour into large pot.
  5. Add cannellini beans and chicken stock, and simmer on low for 3 hours until the pork is tender.
  6. At 2.5 hours, add in cubed pumpkin.
  7. Finish with toasted pumpkin seeds and grated jack cheese.

Recipe reposted with permission from The Boston Brewing Company.

For plenty more beer recipes, check out "Cook with Samuel Adams".

Check out our catalog of over 200 unique Experiences for your auction.

Travel Experiences, Auction Item Ideas, Auction Item Procurement
Summy Lau
Summy Lau
As Fundraising Editor, Summy brings hands-on experience in nonprofit development, event fundraising, publishing, copywriting and design to Winspire News. She creates blog content, infographics, templates, eBooks and other resources to help fundraising professionals and volunteers exceed their fundraising goals. Her two favorite perks of working at Winspire: hearing nonprofit success stories and dreaming of new bucket list destinations.

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