Looking to honor the 13 American soldiers killed on August 26 in Kabul, Afghanistan, along with the many others that were injured, First Line Brewing put their best foot forward, their beer, by setting out 13 pints of beer at a table in their Orchard Park brewery in remembrance of the fallen.
The noble gesture quickly went viral, receiving coverage from the likes of USA Today and Fox News, and became an opportunity to raise funds for the families who were affected.
In total, First Line raised $6,690. $3,953 came from citizens from all across the nation through the brewery’s Venmo account, $1,737 came from direct cash donations in the taproom, $1,000 came from Niagara Label, and then First Line rounded the total to an even $8,000.
“We put the beer out to pay respects to the fallen and it just blew up,” First Line Head Brewer Shane Stewart said. “We created a Venmo because people were contacting us from all over the country wanting to donate. It was such a great feeling to see how America can rally behind people. So we just donated all the money, plus some of our sales, to the families.”
The donations were made to the families of Max Soviak, Taylor Hoover, Nicole Gee, Dylan R. Merola and Johanna Rosario, Tyler Vargas Andrews, who is fighting for his life and just went through his eighth surgery, and Rylee McCullem.
“First off, we would like to show our great appreciation for the overwhelming generosity of our amazing fellow Americans,” the brewery continued. “Again we thank everyone in the community for stepping up in a time of need. God Bless America.”
Brian Campbell is co-founder and Brand Manager of the Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).