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Do Sumpin’ for Puerto Rico

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Schwamigos and Jen Sleppy call another winning raffle number Schwamigos and Jen Sleppy call another winning raffle number

By Dan Clarke

It’s known that beer has been the inspiration for more than a few good ideas. Such was the case earlier this month in Sacramento.

Schwamigos Poster 194x300 Picmonkey

It wasn’t necessarily the consumption of beer that led to Do Sumpin’ for Puerto Rico, a good party for a good cause. It was, however, “beer people” who collaborated to pull off this fundraiser to benefit victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

The Shack has a long history in Sacramento. Governor “Sunny Jim” Rolph is reputed to have taken his first post-Prohibition beer in the beer garden at Doc’s, which occupied the same building at 52nd and Folsom in a distant era. We don’t know whose suds the Governor enjoyed on his visit in 1933, but these days The Shack is known for its ever-rotated taps and a myriad of bottled beers, all served by the most knowledgeable staff in town.

It was Hunter Merritt, who initiated things by suggesting a raffle to benefit the Puerto Rican hurricane relief effort. Hunter is a Shack regular and also leader of a band dubbed The Schwamigos, which plays there on occasion. Gary Sleppy, proprietor of the East Sacramento restaurant and craft beer bar, and his manager Christopher Fairman mulled over the possibilities. Lagunitas manager for the Sacramento market Nate French was contacted and soon an evening featuring specialty beers from Lagunitas Brewery was in the offing with Shack owners Gary and Jen Sleppy pledging 100% of all Lagunitas sales on the day to the fund. A trip to the brewery in Petaluma was suggested as a worthy raffle prize and a private tour for four people was arranged. The brewer would likely provide lunch and “lots of beer,” as Fairman recalls. Lagunitas is legendary for its hospitality--It was a grand plan and a grand prize. One thing led to another and soon Christopher Fairman was soliciting neighboring businesses to donate additional prizes for the raffle. Instigator of the fund-raising idea, Hunter Merritt, volunteered that his band could perform. Both the Schwamigos and opening act Wild Ginger donated their musical talents.

Jake De La Hoya PicmonkeyJake De La Hoya sold lots of raffle tickets

Inspiration for the fund-raising effort was the World Central Kitchen, an organization begun by José Andrés, the Spanish-born chef who now heads a mini-restaurant empire in the U.S. Andrés and his culinary colleagues created #ChefsforPuertoRico after Hurricane Maria devastated that Caribbean outpost of the U.S. As of the 17th of October they had already served 1-million meals to Puerto Ricans still reeling from effects of that disaster.

Taste California Travel stayed ‘til end of the evening and didn’t see anything but happy faces on those attending. Christopher Fairman reports a check from The Shack for $3156 is going to World Central Kitchen to help fund their efforts in Puerto Rico—a fine gesture from a craft beer pioneering business in Sacramento and its beer-loving colleagues and customers. For more information about World Central Kitchen or to donate to their Puerto Rico effort visit www.worldcentralkitchen.org.

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