Impacting Athens beyond really good beer — Creature Comforts Brewing Co

Katie Beauchamp, Community & Human Resource Manager
Katie Beauchamp, Community & Human Resource Manager

We got to spend some time with Katie Beauchamp, Community & Human Resource Manager over the phone. Her joy is contagious.

“I thinks it’s time we stop Children, what’s that sound? Everybody look-what’s going down?”
-Stephen Sills

Do you know what’s happening in your neighborhood?

Do you see fancy cars? An old Toyota? Pristine coffee shops? Folks trolling an alley for garbage? Gates to a golf club? Gates to a prison? Maybe a children’s boutique? I see all of these things; everyday.

Then, in life, there’s those things that exist yet we never see.

Katie Beauchamp and the Creature Comforts team opened in 2014 in Athens, Georgia. They’re a craft brewery and their tag, Crave Curiosity, begs much; including how much they see.

The three founders all moved to Athens about three years ago and started to look around. And when they began to look around in Athens, GA, they saw things, too. Sure, they saw finely-manicured beards with smiles and pint glasses. They saw hoodies with Georgia Bulldogs tees. Even hundreds of bicycles that move many around town, everyday.

Yet, they looked further. They dug more. They sought more. And what they discovered was profound — high unemployment hidden by a prestigious University — 400 homeless residents. Most impactful, their town was impoverished; nearly 40% of the community is living below the poverty line.

And to take on the challenges: 250 Nonprofits.

Let’s step back.

By no means is Creature Comforts a Nonprofit. They are an award-winning startup Brewery. In nearly two years they have won over the Craft Beer community, winning awards at the Great American Brew Fest in 2014 for an American Style Brett Beer called Curious #2

And recently, Creature Comforts was invited to participate this year in Sierra Nevadas Beer Camp.

Check out their UnTapped profile. Lots of high 90’s.

And when Creature Comforts opened in a 13,000 square foot historic warehouse building, nonprofits poured in to ask for assistance. Creature Comforts didn’t believe it purposeful enough to simply write a check or donate a portion of their beer to charity. And like many who might be paralyzed by the sheer enormity of the problem, they took action.

First, they recognized how much they didn’t know. As any leader does, they sought expertise from the folks who have been in the fight for decades.

“We knew we wanted to impact the community, but we didn’t know where to start so we partnered with Community Connection to learn about how we could make an impact.” ~ Katie

Katie shares,

“Our brewery was founded on six pillars and one of them is community – it’s not just marketing. We know we have the ability to do more good as a business, rather than personally. So that’s what we did!”

Doing Good As A Business

What the curious folks did at Creature Comforts was profound. They created a fund (not a non-profit) to impact their Community. They call it: Get Comfortable.

Then they set a goal: $50,000 in six months!

And Get Comfortable impacted beyond financial giving:

It mattered this much:

  • Dedicated team of 4 people (including the CEO of the Brewery)
  • Workstations for giving back setup in Brewery space
  • Incorporated Get Comfortable Volunteers into business model
  • Weekly events, every Wednesday for five months

This year, they partnered with these five charities: Athens Area Homeless Shelter, Athens Land Trust, Sparrow’s Nest, Action Ministries, and Athens Community Council On Aging.

And here’s how they describe how Get Comfortable works:

And here’s how they describe how Get Comfortable works
How Get Comfortable Works — Cause Marketing by Creature Comforts

In its first year, Creature Comforts easily beat their goal, raising over $65,000 for the community.

As famed Boulderite Alex Bogusky would say, To be purposeful “Bake your Stuff Right in.”

Creature Comforts did that. They used Condor Cocoa nibs to create a unique Koko Buni Milk Scout while Condor Chocolates reciprocated and stepped up to create a specific Koko Buni Bar. Funds raised went to the five local Athens charities. Mr. Bogusky and his Boulderites should be so proud.

 

According to Katie, this wasn’t even the most rewarding event. Watching from the sidelines, businesses became more and more vested with helping others in our community throughout the five-month campaign and Get Comfortable became contagious.

A local pizza company (yup, also not a nonprofit) designed a Pizza to compliment a beer and when that pizza was sold, another was provided to Get Comfortable at no cost.

“One of my favorite things is Athens Community Council on Aging. They work with the Senior Citizens in Athens. One of the programs is Meals on Wheels. Some of the pizzas that were donated through our partnership with another local business with Get Comfortable were taken to those Senior Citizens who are homebound. Some of them said they had not had pizza in five years. They were so happy to get a hot pizza. Going around and seeing how they live, I mean they can’t leave their home and the only contact they have sometimes is the five minutes when someone delivered the meal.”

This Get Comfortable movement is wholesome. It’s organic. It’s purposeful and profound. Everyone is all in. How could you not be?

Get Comfortable Ya’ll. Give back.

For More on Creature Comforts visit their website.

To donate to Get Comfortable visit their website.

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