Thirsty for Beer Wars: Craft Beer Industry Barons Duke It Out For DTES Charity, April 17

beer wars event flyerBy: Jessica Linnay

On April 17 the city’s beer masters put down the pints and put ‘em up in a battle of fists, fighting (literally) to raise funds for a local not-for-profit.

In this spinoff of their popular Aprons for Gloves fundraiser, event organizers corralled the city’s craft beer industry workers to volunteer their participation in a boxing tournament designed to profit one of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside community fixtures, the Eastside Boxing Club. And now, following months of gruelling training and trading pints for punches, ladies and gents from breweries including Parallel 49, Off The Rail, Central City Brewers and Distillers, and out-of-town contenders from both Tofino and Whistler Brewing Companies prepare to get in the ring together in the name of charity. Proceeds of beer sales from product donated for the event by these breweries and others like Steel & Oak, Steamworks Beer and Spinnakers Brewpub will go to help the gym’s operational costs.

This isn’t the first time the city has rallied behind the club.

Photo credit: Vancouver Is Awesome

Photo: Vancouver Is Awesome

Eastside Boxing quickly became a neighbourhood staple of the DTES after opening its doors above the Woodland Smoke House in April of 2013, only to become devastated by fire a short six months later; not being one to go down without a fight, owner David Schuck was able to reopen the club thanks to an overwhelming flow of community and industry support that took the form of financial, equipment, and time donations. Its initial open was facilitated by the efforts of Schuck with the help of service-industry professionals and their Aprons for Gloves fundraising program, which brought together “bartenders, baristas, barbers and butchers” in two annual boxing competitions that generated over $270,000 to secure the gym’s permanent location.

The Eastside Boxing Club provides services for women, youth, and other at-risk populations in the city area notorious for its many troubles and tragedies. Shaylen Washburn, the two-time champion of Aprons for Gloves’ Restaurant Rumble, herself originally came into the club as a troubled teen. Besides free training and boxing coaching, Eastside offers members general health and wellness programming as well as opportunities to connect themselves and their peers with community programs, services, and educational support.

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In addition to the good nature of the cause, there are other incentives for craft beer industry workers to sign up to test their toughness in what may, like Aprons for Gloves, become a yearly event: three months of free training provided by Eastside Boxing.  “We all drink too much beer and all have a couple extra pounds, so it probably doesn’t hurt for us to do a program like this,” Chris Bjerrisgaard, Parallel 49’s marketing manager and co-founder of Vancouver Craft Beer Week told the WestEnder.

Beer Wars takes place at Caprice Nightclub on April 17. Remaining tickets for the event start at $50 and can be purchased online.

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