Everyone has their holiday. For some people, November 1st means it’s finally time to start decorating for Christmas. For others, New Year’s Eve is the highlight of the year, with its promise of a fresh start (just as soon as the hangover passes). I even know someone for whom Valentine’s Day merits a massive, sugar-fueled party with pink and red construction paper hearts as far as the eye can see. But for me, it’s all about Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest ist wunderbar!
Oktoberfest celebrations have been the highlight of my autumn for the past decade or so. I’ve shoveled down schnitzel in Kitchener, enjoyed many, many “maßes” (“masses” or litre steins) in Munich, and done a brewery crawl in Vermont. I love the relaxed camaraderie of the crowds, the music of an oom-pah band, and drinking a pint in the crisp, fall air.
This past weekend I made the trek east to the wilds of Vankleek Hill for Beau’s Oktoberfest. This was my fifth Beau’s experience, and I’m a big fan of the brand. They continue to produce excellent mainstay beers, as well as developing interesting flavours each year using novel recipes. I also really enjoy their branding from an aesthetic perspective – I’ve purchased a number of posters over the years promoting their different beers, and my boyfriend and I have them displayed on rotation in our apartment.
Drinking for charity
What also makes the Beau’s brand a stand-out is their commitment to corporate social responsibility, and involvement in the community. In addition to their ongoing support of Operation Come Home, a significant portion of the money generated by Beau’s Oktoberfest each year goes towards a charity. This year, sales of a special beer-Caesar were designated to support the development of a women-owned and operated brewery in Rwanda. If you clicked on the Beau’s link earlier in this post, you will have noticed the website’s strategic use of a pop-up that allows you to watch a video about the brewery project, and links to the Rwandan’s brewery’s Kickstarter page.
I had the opportunity to listen to Beau’s founder Steve Beauchesne and soon-to-be brewery owner Josephine “Fina” Uwineza talk about the project during a beer sampling session called “The School of Bock”. It was fascinating, and I wish it could have been longer so that we could have gone into greater depth about the subjects that came up during the Q-and-A portion. While the primary point of the session was to sell attendees on the idea of contributing to the brewery, the conversation also covered at a glance Rwanda’s beer culture, and the place of women in post-conflict economies. When I walked out of the session, I was thirsty for more information…and for more beer.
Have any of your favourite companies incorporated social or charitable enterprises into their business model? If so, how are they using social media to promote it?