Three local breweries — Steel Bender Brewyard, Sierra Blanca Brewing Company and Second Street Brewery — teamed up for Hunger Action Month this September to create the third annual “One for 5” collaborative stout in support of Storehouse New Mexico, the largest food pantry in the state.
A dollar from every pint sold in a taproom and 100% of package sales go to the local storehouse, where $1 will provide five meals for anyone in New Mexico who needs them, according to Shelby Chant, co-owner and marketing director of Steel Bender Brewyard. The participating breweries have draft and package sales of this year’s “One for 5” hazy pale ale available throughout September at any of the three breweries or at 25 different local Albertsons.
“There’s a very direct equation of how much impact you have by just buying a single beer,” Randy Ziegler, development manager of Sierra Blanca, said.
Marketing manager of Storehouse New Mexico Jill Beets said hunger in the state is an ongoing issue and this project brings awareness to its severity.
“New Mexico is of the worst in hunger, both for children and adults,” Beets said. “Nearly 20% of the population is wondering where their next meal might come from … and during the pandemic, those numbers have worsened and one in three children are going hungry.”
Storehouse New Mexico has been around for over 40 years and supports about 45,000 people annually, 10,000 of which are children, according to Beets.
Albertsons Market was brought on as the grocery partner because they’ve long supported initiatives of Storehouse, according to Chant. She said having a packaged charity beer in so many Albertsons locations throughout the state has tremendous potential to help the food pantry.
“We’re constantly looking for ways to raise money to feed people because (hunger) is an ongoing need here,” Beets said.
Beets said Storehouse New Mexico relies on fundraising and independent donations to keep their doors open.
“There’s been a trend not just here in New Mexico but across the microbrew industry of multiple breweries coming together to collaborate … for unique releases, but in particular for charity,” Ziegler said. “It’s become pretty much an industry standard that breweries can work collectively for a greater cause.”
Beets said buying food items in a wholesale fashion is what keeps the cost down and allows Storehouse New Mexico to stretch a dollar to cover five meals.
“This year we were able to do something a little more uniquely local than we have in years past,” Chant said.
It was important to the brewers this year to have a New Mexico-centric product, Beets said. The two types of hops used this year were sabro and zappa, whose lineage comes from New Mexican wild hops. In addition, the pilsner malt comes from New Mexico Malting, who sells the local barley used in the stout.
“What is so great about breweries being involved in the community in this way is the nature of a brewery, of a taproom, of a public house is that it also draws the interest of people who are very community-minded,” Chant said. “You’re able to come into these spaces and be a part of something that’s more than just sitting down and having a beer.”
In 2020, the “One for 5” initiative was cut significantly as breweries across the state were struggling to keep their doors open after the COVID-19 pandemic forced restrictions on indoor taprooms and limited draft sales, Chant said.
“People were going and buying a lot of packaged beer during the pandemic,” Chant said. “We knew we could supply Albertsons with a lot of beer and shift more of the focus over to packaged beer instead of from draft in our taprooms. We just didn’t know, week to week, if we get shut down and have draft sitting there in kegs — that’s a problem.”
The ongoing support from Steel Bender Brewyard, Second Street Brewery and Sierra Blanca Brewing Company has been a blessing for Storehouse, according to Beets.
“Community comes down to whether or not we’re taking care of each other, and families gathered around tables and having enough to eat is how we stay connected as people,” Beets said.
Rebecca Hobart is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @DailyLobo