Ram Brewery to Tap its Checkbook for Charities Jilted by Tacoma Beer Festival (Tacoma News Tribune)

A brewer is offering to pick up some of the slack left by a Tacoma beer festival organizer’s unmet promises to local charities.

Tacoma’s Union House Productions has organized the Tacoma Craft Beer Festival for the past five years and added the Big Beer Festival this year. The company is owned by Bennett Thurmon and Roxi Wolfe, who say declining attendance, not mismanagement, are responsible for the festivals’ budget woes.

But they have consistently overpromised and underdelivered, charities say. YWCA Pierce County officials thought February’s Big Beer Festival would net more than $13,000 for their organization. They received a check in September — for $1,078.

Now the Ram Restaurant and Brewery, which has participated in the Tacoma Craft Beer Festival, wants to help. A company spokesman said the Ram will match up to $10,000 of community donations made to the YWCA Pierce County and the Emergency Food Network between now and the end of the year.

EFN was to be the beneficiary of September’s Tacoma Craft Beer Festival, but received only $400 for staff time.

“We recognize that (beer festivals) don’t go on without a lot of volunteer efforts by the worthy charities that are thinking they are going to reap the benefits of the festival,” Ram spokesman Mark Schermerhorn said.

He said local Ram restaurants are also planning to hold food drives for the agencies. The YWCA serves battered women and their children. EFN distributes food to more than 67 sites throughout Pierce County.

“This is the best outcome we ever could have imagined,” said Jessica Gavre, the development director for YWCA. “We are feeling very grateful for the community.”

Those interested in donating to the fund can do so online at ywcapiercecounty.org/online-gifts. Type “Ram Match Fund” in the information box. All donations will be split between the YWCA and EFN.

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