The Chico-based brewery, which is located by the fire’s western edge, had to shut over the weekend.
Despite the disaster’s unassuming name, “Camp Fire” — which started last Thursday near Camp Creek Road in Pulga, California — is now being called the state’s deadliest wildfire ever, claiming at least 42 lives. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from the area about 90 miles north of Sacramento. Probably the most recognizable city in the region is Chico which is currently on the fire’s western border. As plenty of craft beer drinkers can tell you, Chico is home to the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, which had to temporarily shut because of the blaze. The taproom reopened yesterday, but focusing on the ongoing Camp Fire is still one of Sierra Nevada’s top priorities — and the brewery has launched a Camp Fire Relief Fund, asking for donations and getting things rolling with $100,000 seed money of its own.
“As many of you are aware, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and our surrounding communities are in the midst of dealing with the still-active Camp Fire. Even though we are all living moment to moment trying to figure out who is safe and if our homes have been spared, the beauty of the human spirit still shines through,” the Grossman family, owners of the brewery, said in an email. “There are many opportunities — both immediate and long-term — to help those affected. … For long-term support, we have set up a Sierra Nevada Camp Fire Relief Fund, supported through the Golden Valley Bank Community Foundation. The brewery is seeding this fund with an initial $100,000 to get started. Once the fire is out, we will distribute all donated money to partner organizations that are dedicated to rebuilding and supporting the communities that have been affected.”
The brewery is asking anyone who would like to donate to go to the Golden Valley Bank website where they can choose the Sierra Nevada Brewery fund by clicking on the brewery’s link on the Camp Fire Support list.
“With the brave men and women risking their lives fighting this fire and the outpouring of support from communities near and far, we know we are on a path to healing and rebuilding,” Sierra Nevada’s message concludes.
In the short-term, the brewery says that rather than duplicate the efforts of traditional relief organizations, “we will instead focus on connecting those groups with people who need help.” However, Sierra Nevada is offering free meals all week to first responders and anyone who has been displaced by the Camp Fire. Additionally, “we have some clothing in our tour lobby available to anyone in need while our inventory lasts,” the brewery wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, a bit further south in Davis, California, just outside of Sacramento, a benefit will be taking place at the Sudwerk Brewing Company on Saturday, November 17. A similar event held last year to raise money after the Sonoma/Napa fires reportedly brought in about $30,000.