The war in Ukraine has dominated the news for weeks now, with no signs of ending. On the surface, it seems like there is little that anyone in Albuquerque can do, but in a time of such horror, sometimes even the smallest gestures can make a difference.
For ReSource Brewing co-owner Stephanie Wright, Ukraine is not just a country on the map or a story on the news. It is a place near where she once lived, and where she still knows people now caught in the conflict. She and her husband, Shawn Wright, have created a new Ukrainian Imperial Stout, Our Lady of Immaculate Fermentation, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to help the people of Ukraine.
We asked her in an email as to why this cause was so important.
“I’ll start out by apologizing for my lengthy response,” Stephanie wrote. “Your question is deceptively complex … for me. Between getting my MBA from an international business program and being a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Moldova (’99-01), I have many friends in Eastern Europe and a deep affinity for the region and its people. Moldova (like its border neighbor Ukraine) was a former Soviet Republic, and when I lived there, even several years after the Soviet regime finally fell, Russia’s influence was still strong in the culture and had to be navigated carefully. I think it’s hard for Americans to understand how it would feel to experience both a sense of freedom (for the first time for many citizens) and the reality that a lot of what you’d been taught was untrue propaganda. Yet, despite that, the people I know from the region are some of the most strong, hopeful and kind people I’ve ever met.
“When Shawn and I saw what Putin was doing in Ukraine and how many countries like Moldova were opening their borders and homes to refugees — when many of them have so little themselves — we knew we had to do something to help. Having had a nervous eye on Putin for decades, I know what he’s capable of … and it terrifies me. For Ukraine currently … but really for the whole world.
“Ukraine was actually one of the early countries to declare its independence from the Soviet Union, even before Gorbachev resigned as President signaling the fall of the Soviet Union. The courage that drove the Ukrainian people then continues to drive them now. Friends of mine who are still in Kiev are giving regular updates on what is truly happening on the ground, and it’s horrifying. But, they continue to fight for their country, their culture and their people. When Shawn and I were trying to figure out what ReSource could do that would make an impact, we thought about Eastern Europeans’ love for strong drink and decided to make a ‘Ukrainian Imperial Stout,’ symbolically taking the moniker away from Russia and signifying the strength of the Ukrainian people. Peace Corps volunteers know that even just one person can make a positive difference — as can one brewery — but in planning out this fundraiser, Shawn and I felt strongly that having other breweries join us in this common mission would make a bigger impact, faster. So we reached out to Guild members and were thrilled to get such a positive response!”
Seven other breweries have joined ReSource to put the stout on tap today (Friday), and will likewise donate the proceeds to Ukrainian relief efforts. We contacted all the participating breweries to ask them what it means to each of them to engage in this small, but still important effort, to help the victims of this war.
Brew Lab 101: “It is horrific to watch the news each day and watch the Ukrainian people suffer, and feel powerless to help. We are so thankful that ReSource Brewing has stepped up and provided this small opportunity to empower us and our customers to help Ukraine.”
Canteen Brewhouse: “Watching the events in Ukraine unfold, and the strength of the Ukrainian people as they suffer the pain and loss of war defending the free country they love and call home, should remind us here at home of the courage it takes to defend democracy. In the example of Ukraine, we are reminded that many in the world oppose the way we live free in America, and any support we can give to the people of Ukraine is a show of support for our shared values of democracy and human rights. At Canteen Brewhouse, we are proud to join ReSource Brewing and our collective of participating New Mexico breweries in this greatest of causes. Special thanks to Stephanie and Shawn at ReSource Brewing for organizing this.”
High and Dry Brewing: “It’s simple — we are genuinely happy we aided people in need.”
Nexus Brewery: “Nexus Brewery is privileged to help the people suffering through war in Ukraine. We appreciate our fellow breweries’ and our patrons’ support for relief efforts.”
Rowley Farmhouse Ales: “Ebbie (Edmonston) made the call to pick this up, but it really is a no brainer. We were trying to plan out to brew the malted sunflower seed saison posted up by Brandon at Yazoo/ETF, but our pipeline is pretty full right now, and we lost some brewing staff recently to other industries, so the timing for that wasn’t good for us. This popped up and it was an easy decision to support the Ukrainian people in their time of need.”
Steel Bender Brewyard: “We’re so glad that Stephanie and ReSource brought this to the breweries. What’s happening in Ukraine is utterly horrific. While it’s only a small drop in what needs to be a bottomless bucket to even begin to support humanitarian and rebuilding efforts, we hope that gestures like this are creating some hope and supportive energy to the Ukrainian people.”
Tractor Brewing: “We stand by the people of Ukraine and any way we can show our support, we will. A huge thank you to ReSource for rallying us behind this cause!”
This is the type of beer that the Crew would be drinking anyway, so we are all too happy to join with the rest of Albuquerque and enjoy a pint for a great cause.
“We hope that everyone enjoys ‘Our Lady of Immaculate Fermentation,’ a Ukrainian Imperial Stout (9% ABV, 65 IBUs), and we hope that all the breweries sell out quickly!” Stephanie wrote. “A whole lot of love went into this beer and this fundraising effort — for the average Russian citizens who don’t want to be at war, for the citizens of all the countries taking in refugees, and of course for the Ukrainians fighting for their lives and freedom. We believe in Beer Not Bombs, and are grateful for our community!”
A huge thanks to Stephanie and Shawn for this endeavor, and for the other breweries who have joined in with them.