If you see Will Gordon drunk in the next month, don’t worry; it’s for a good cause. Gordon, a Boston-based freelance food and drink writer who regularly covers beer for Vinepair, has pledged to donate $1 to the American Civil Liberties Union for every beer he drinks.
Why? While watching the political events of last weekend unfold, Gordon says, “I just had this general feeling of impotent rage. I’m sitting watching people being detained at airports, and I’m drinking beer and reading Twitter and wondering if I can do anything. And as this was spinning in my head, the ACLU was actively doing something good.”
So Gordon decided to turn his reason for drinking—the events of the past weekend—into a positive by donating dollars for every beer he finished to the ACLU.
“There’s a level of guilt associated with drinking beer while all this is going on, beer being such an optional luxury item,” he says. “I’m certainly not going to stop drinking good beer, but maybe I can use it to mitigate my role in the end of the world.”
Gordon wasn’t the only one to funnel his giving toward the ACLU: The group received more than $24 million in online donations last weekend—up from an average of $3 million to $4 million each year. At least several hundred of those $24 million came from brewers, beer writers and regular old beer drinkers who, after seeing Gordon’s post about his pledge on Twitter, also pledged to #DrinkForGood.
John Laffler, founder of Chicago’s Off Color Brewing, was one of the first to follow Gordon’s lead, dropping this message on his personal Twitter page:
Now, folks from every section of the beer industry are jumping on board. Representatives from Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Mystic Brewery in Chelsea, Massachusetts, have promised to #DrinkForGood, and along with pledging to donate, Almanac Beer Co. founder and head brewer Jesse Friedman declared his brewery would soon craft a beer called ACLIBU, with a portion of sales going to the ACLU. Todd Alstrom, founder of beeradvocate.com, also announced that he and his brother and site co-founder Jason would be donating $1 to ACLU for every subscription or renewal to the website’s monthly BeerAdvocate magazine until the end of February.
To keep the momentum going, Gordon plans to post a weekly roundup of beers drank and dollars donated on Vinepair, with invited beer industry pros—“special guest livers,” he calls them—providing their own donation lists. He says close to 100 people have messaged him so far, and many more have pledged their beers on social media. Keep an eye out for the series to start next week, and keep up with beer drinkers’ donations—or add your own—using the hashtag #DrinkForGood.