Whether directly or indirectly, everyone is, or has been, affected by suicide. According to the latest data, on average, 132 Americans died by suicide each day and 1.4 million Americans attempted suicide, in 2020 alone. It was responsible for more than 47,500 deaths in 2019, which is about one death every 11 minutes. I could go on, but you get the point. And while beer might not be the first thing that comes to mind in terms of suicide prevention, three Western New York breweries have banded together to do just that – brew a beer to raise money for mental health awareness.

Brewing beer for a good cause, kind of has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Pressure Drop Brewing and Thin Man Brewery are joining Brickyard Brewing Company for a monumental collaboration created to raise money for suicide prevention and mental health awareness. The beer, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, a hazy IPA, will be released March 13 at Brickyard in Lewiston. 4-pack 16oz. cans will be $25 each. Cans are available for pre-order.

Brewed with wheat and oats to build a soft flavor profile, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay features heavy additions of Citra, Mosaic, Galaxy and Vic Secret hops to add layers of juicy fruit.

“It’s a hazy IPA. We wanted to make something that people were going to gravitate to, talk about and most importantly, BUY. This isn’t the time to flex our knowledge of esoteric styles – it’s time to do something that’ll sell like crazy & get people excited. It’s like that kid who won free chicken at Chic-fil-a said, “It’s IPA. It’s Hazy IPA. I like Hazy IPA.” We went all out on this one & it should be absolutely killer,” Thin Man Head Brewer Rudy Watkins says of It’s Okay to Not Be Okay.

100% of the proceeds from this beer will be going directly to suicide prevention charities. Every penny. Each business donated all of their time and efforts in order to ensure the most amount of money possible will go towards these worthy causes.

Brickyard’s Head Brewer John Paul Meteer says he put the plan for this beer into action after one such suicide hit a little too close to home. After that, he put the wheels in motion.

“You’d be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t affected by suicide in some way,” Meteer says. “In the US alone nearly a thousand people take their own lives every week. It’s something that crosses all ages, genders, religions, and ethnicities. When one suicide hit oddly close to home, we were inspired to do something.”

After Thin Man and Pressure Drop joined the cause, Stronghold Studios, Niagara Label, and Revolution Mobile Canning followed suit, all doing their respective part to design and package the beer for free, to make sure every penny goes towards the cause.

“Having worked with John and Steve on the BBC branding and packaging for a little over a year now and having many people in my life affected by suicide, when they asked me to be a part of this project I couldn’t hop on board quick enough. Creating awareness from as many avenues as possible in order to reach more people is crucial and being a part of something that has the power to do just that was a privilege,” Stronghold Studios Founder/Designer Rob Hopkins adds.

Revolution Canning says they are honored to be a part of this collaboration, and that it didn’t take much for Meteer to convince them to jump on board.

“‘We need to be a presence in our community and make a difference’ was all JP had to lead with after relating the story of the recent tragedy, and we were in. JP, Rudy, and Karl have been instrumental in the growth of Revolution Mobile Canning. They gave us an opportunity to fail, and went through our growing pains as we started our business. They have remained loyal and steadfast partners. We are humbled to be a part of the Buffalo craft beer movement and are honored to be included in giving back to one of our largest business regions in a positive way,” Dan Johnson and the entire Revolution Team says.

Curbside pickup is available at Brickyard Pub & BBQ at 11am on March 13. Cans will also be available for purchase on Ridge Street (in front of the Barrel House) during a pop-up sale with the brewers (10am – 1pm).

“Why is it important to do this? How could it not be? There was a specific suicide that motivated this collaboration but it is far from the first time that suicide has impacted us. We aren’t therapists, we aren’t counselors, so we’ll do what we can & hopefully make a difference,” Watkins says.

“The damage suicide does to the people left behind from it is unfathomable,” Meteer adds.

If you or someone you know needs help, you can visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or call 1-800-273-8255. Or call me, text me, email me, Snapchat me, and we can just chat. Maybe grab a beer or a coffee. You’re not alone. No matter how it feels, there’s always someone out there who cares.

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 brian@buffalobeerleague.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).