‘Rock On’: Breweries Across U.S. Making Special Beer to Help Musicians Hit Hard by Pandemic

by Madison Miller

What better team-up is there besides local breweries and musicians?

As the world continues to grapple with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, several have felt the ripple of it all financially. Small businesses were forced to close their doors, the food industry is left short-staffed, medical officials are working tirelessly, and those in the entertainment business were left with no job for close to a year.

Beer to Help Financially Struggling Musicians

Included in those affected are live musicians. According to Pollstar, in 2020 the economic impact from the shutdown of all live performances totaled more than $30 billion.

Now, there are more than two dozen breweries all across the U.S. making beer that is specifically aimed at helping musicians and other key members of the music industry.

According to USA Today, one company looking to brew good for others is Crosby Hops in Woodburn, Oregon. The business will donate any profits made from hops sold in order to make what is named the Rock On lager. Proceeds from the beer will go to the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund. This started in 1993 to help musicians that were in need financially.

There is also the COVID-19 fund Sweet Relief, which started in March 2020.

Breweries could make whatever kind of brew they wanted. Most went with a lager close to 5% ABV and a hop-centric recipe with notes of bread, honey, and citrus. While that was the base recipe, breweries took creative liberty, which usually meant going heavier on the hops.

“It’s still an absolute state of emergency in our industry. This has a long tail to it,” Aric Steinberg, the executive vice president of development and artist relations, said to the news outlet.

The first brewery to rock with this charitable concept was Silver City Brewery in Bremerton, Washington. They created that initial Rock On lager that has been the point of reference for other breweries. Breweries like Hive Beer to Goat Island Craft Brewing to Level Crossing Brewing to Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. followed along.

Beer Team-Ups

It’s not been a new concept this year for alcohol and music to team up for good causes. In fact, Silver City Brewing first teamed up with a punk band called MxPx for a beer called Secret Weapon.

It was in honor of the band’s 25th anniversary back in 2017. According to The Columbus Dispatch, a Dominican artist Ariel Peguero and members of the Ohio Hispanic Coalition joined forces for the Las Pilas Mexican Dark Lager with Plantains. Additionally, Land-Grant Brewing Company is the brewing company responsible.

Federation Brewing and Hella Coastal Brewery teamed up to honor the legacy of late hip-hop artist Shock G. The beer is Shock G Forever and it quickly sold out of all its cans.