Second Helping Release
We sit down with SweetWater's Steve Farace as we revel in the release of Second Helping, plus more exciting news and events!
How’d you hear about The Giving Kitchen?
I first heard about The Giving Kitchen back in 2013. There was an event at SweetWater called Charlotte’s Web, a fundraiser for a girl who’d been diagnosed with breast cancer—unfortunately, she passed away prior to that fundraiser. But Ryan and Jen Hidinger were at that event, and they got up on stage to speak about what The Giving Kitchen was and how it was coming into play for the hospitality community in Atlanta. Standing there with Freddy Bensch, he and I looked at each other and said, "This is amazing." We couldn’t believe something like this didn’t exist already, and we knew we needed to figure out a way to get involved so we could help.
How have you been able to get involved with The Giving Kitchen?
Our involvement really started with that opportunity to learn more about what The Giving Kitchen was doing and what they most needed as far as getting off the ground, raising funds and raising awareness for the cause. For us as a brewery, the best thing that we could offer was to create a beer. Not only did we create a beer, but we worked with our partners at United Distributors. We both committed to donating 100 percent of our profits on Second Helping to The Giving Kitchen, and in the first four years, we raised over $240,000.
As a partner of The Giving Kitchen, what’s special about the organization to you?
The Giving Kitchen is different from other nonprofit organizations in the interaction they have with the folks they serve. Whether it’s the people on the front lines waiting tables and greeting guests or the people working in the back of house, it’s amazing to me the amount of grants given out on a weekly basis through The Giving Kitchen. It’s so impactful on people’s lives because it helps them stay on their feet at a time when they might not otherwise have any options. It’s more than writing a check to someone; it’s understanding what their true needs are by paying for a mortgage payment, to keep the lights on and the heat going, or whatever their specific need is. Restaurant workers are dealing with a hard enough time during an emergency—they shouldn’t have to worry about those life necessities.
Why do you think people should support The Giving Kitchen?
It’s straight forward. We all go out to enjoy the hospitality industry, which we take for granted because it’s just a part of our lives. But we have to remember that sometimes those people need help, as well. Folks always go to their favorite restaurant or favorite bar when they need help to raise funds for a cause. Those restaurants are the first ones to give, so it’s a great opportunity for us to give back to them.
We’re in the midst of enjoying this year’s batch of Second Helping every chance we get, but we’re also gearing up for Team Hidi 6. Have you had the chance to go to a Team Hidi event before?
I’ve been to many Team Hidi events, and they’re always fantastic! It’s above and beyond in the passion you see come through the people volunteering their time and energy to serve up some of the most special beer, food, wine, cocktails—across the board, it’s truly a special event for everybody that attends.
Last but not least, if you had to sum it up in one sentence, what does The Giving Kitchen give?
The Giving Kitchen gives security in an otherwise unsure time.
Giving Kitchen Executive Director Bryan Schroeder(l) with SweetWater's Steve Farace