January 8, 2019

Beer to benefit Worcester firefighter was a no brainer for Wormtown, Wachusett

Photo | Courtesy
Worcester's Bravest will be released in February.

Wachusett Brewing Co. in Westminster and Wormtown Brewery in Worcester are teaming up to create a beer to benefit the family of the Worcester Firefighter Christopher Roy who died after fighting a fire last month. The project comes as the two Central Massachusetts breweries had been discussing possible collaborations. Christian McMahan, president of Wachusett Brewing Co., recently spoke to WBJ about the project.

How long have Wormtown and Wachusett been discussing a project?

David and I have been in the beer business together in Massachusetts for decades and we (along with Wormtown Brewmaster and Co-Founder Ben Roesch) have had a very strong relationship over the past few years. When I arrived at Wachusett in June of 2017, I think there was always a sense that we would do something together, we just never had the right reason. When the news of Firefighter Roy came out, I was at Wormtown the next day and we all agreed that the time is now.

What other kind of projects were floated?

None until now, we just kept a very open line of communication, but neither of us wanted to something for the sake of doing it, we wanted it have a purpose. We have found our purpose in the Ava Roy Fund.

After these terrible events, was this collaboration an easy decision?

Probably the easiest I have ever made in my 25 years of being in this industry. I know David and Ben feel the same way.

How much do you hope to raise for the family?

We will keep raising money as long as the beer is supported. David has thrown out a lofty goal of $30,000 to $40,000. The community will ultimately decide and based on what the reaction has already been, we are very optimistic.

Why do breweries seem to always be a part of the local community?

We are based in our communities. Our employees and their families live in our communities. We have a responsibility to our communities. The values and integrity of our companies almost mandate us to get involved when something of this magnitude happens in our community.

Why don't more brewers partner on special projects like this?

I think everyone helps in any way they can. Recently Sierra Nevada in California launched a project in support of the Camp Fire tragedy that greatly impacted their region. Over 1,500 breweries across the country answered the call including both us and Wormtown and they expect to raise over $15 million in support of the project. That is pretty amazing. There are not too many industries like the craft beer industry that comes together in such a way. It's very rewarding to be a part of projects like these and give our employees so much pride in what we do.

It's interesting that you guys are two of the top three largest brewers in Central Mass. (according to our data) and are teaming up like this. Is there any competition otherwise?

There is plenty of beer to go around. Craft beer is still a very small (though growing) part of the industry, and we are better by working together versus against each other.

When will Worcester's Bravest be released?

We are both targeting Friday, Feb. 1 as the release date in our respective tap rooms. Additionally we are planning a benefit concert in our Brew Yard on Saturday, Feb. 2 featuring Max Recoil, one of our favorite bands.

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