Last Monday I wrote a post about how terrible it is to live in Auckland, where we lack a decent beer culture. When I went post it on Tuesday night, it hardly seemed appropriate, after Christchurch had again been ravaged by an earthquake, this time with terrible fatalities.
With the large amount of brewers and craft beer bars in Christchurch, the online beer community was packed with reports of who was okay and how their breweries (and thus livelihoods) had fared. Not because we love beer, but because we care about the people – in many cases, knowing these people personally. The craft beer community in New Zealand is very much an online community and there was soon news from most of those brewers affected. Greig McGill from SOBA sent out an email to keep everyone updated, and there was relief at finding that the brewing community and their families were largely unhurt, in the midst of sadness and horror of the disaster.
The next round of organisation then began: fund-raising. Hashigo Zake donated every cent they took over the bar on Saturday night to two causes: the Christchurch earthquake and Atareira, a mental health organisation, in honour of Matthew Hall. The Malthouse donated a dollar for every tap beer sold on Friday and Saturday nights. Galbraiths took and match dollar-for-dollar donations. The charity continues with 8Wired auctioning off a crate of iStout (it’s currently at $650) and Yeastie Boys also donating beer for sale. This Friday there’s a series of events around New Zealand to raise more money through auctions (check out the details here).
In addition to these amazing acts, we also need to remember the long-term. It’s easy (and good) to be shocked by pictures on television or affected by a story online and pull out your credit card or donate products or services to help. The hard part is remembering that these people will need our help for weeks and months to come. Many breweries were damaged and won’t be able to produce much for the next little while. We need to keep remembering them and be ready to buy their delicious delights when they’re back on their feet, so they can stay on the feet. On Twitter today a vague plan was hatched that once the Christchurch brewers are ready to have us, we’ll have a roadtrip to Christchurch to celebrate and sample as much of their beer as we could. It was dubbed ‘Quakefest’.
So that’s the plan. Donate as much as I can now, support fundraising events and make sure that, when they’re ready, the Christchurch brewers will have a market to come back to.