For all the media attention that beer seems to get these days you’d think it was made from first cold-pressing of Satan’s sweat.
It’s always either bad news and bashings or whining about liquor licences and minors binge drinking. Craft beer in particular is lucky – it pretty much gets no attention from the media at all.So when a ‘good news’ story comes around it is imperative that we jump on it and ride it for all it’s worth.
The fact that it is tempered with a thread of sadness and tragic inevitability makes it all the more important. This is a tale of despair and hope and selflessness. And, above all, courage.
Heath Shirtcliffe from Cavalier Brewing received an email from Dr Ian Davis asking for help. Unlike the usual requests for sample stock or some free merchandise, this plea was direct and heartfelt. Like many others before him, Ian Davis had experienced one of those ‘beer epiphanies’ while drinking a Cavalier Pale Ale. This epiphany, however, was more than just the standard ‘Wow Beer’ moment.
Dr Ian Davis has Motor Neuron Disease. MND is a progressive disease that selectively affects motor neurons, which are the cells that control voluntary muscle activity. It causes progressive degeneration and, eventually, death.
Dr Davis called asking for help. Inspired by the Cavalier Pale Ale he wanted to craft a beer to raise funds and awareness of MND. The Cavalier boys talked over the challenge and immediately agreed to join forces on what would become Project Cavalier Courage.
Beer & Brewer magazine got on board and ran an article before the beer had even been named, which created enough buzz to attract interest from people affected by or interested in, MND.
This, in turn, led to the story being picked up by national radio, print and television outlets including full and double page spreads in the two largest dailies.
In case you’re wondering why Brews News did not publicise the event, held a couple of weeks ago, it’s because tickets sold out before the event details were finalised. Space for an extra 100 was found and these tickets went in under half an hour.
Fortunately, from a marketing view point, the beer finally entered the scene and Cavalier Courage, an easy drinking ale emerged from the Cavalier tanks in time for the fundraiser.
The first case sold for $5,050 but those wishing to pay a more usual price for a beer with a real story and soul can get some at the official launch. Virginia Plain in Melbourne’s CBD has generously donated the venue to ensure the beer, and the cause gets the stage it deserves.
The launch will take place on Tuesday November 27th from 7pm and all are welcome. Cavalier Courage along with Cavalier Pale and Brown Ale will be available and $1.00 from every Cavalier Courage goes to the cause. It’s not often that you can drink good beer in good company and feel that you are making a real difference.
If you can’t make it to the launch, I implore you to look over the articles attached and see if you can find a few bucks to throw towards the effort.
There are elements of this story that will not have a happy ending. There is no amount of beer that can save Dr Ian Davis from his ultimate fate and from the struggles and trials that will precede it. But, in this day of sad and bad news and our tendency to look at a half empty glasses, it’s a bitter-sweet feeling to know that raising a glass of Cavalier Courage will make a difference somewhere down the track.
As Albert Camus’ tragic character, Sisyphus, who is doomed for eternity to push a boulder up a hill only for it to roll down the other side, finds purpose in his fate, so too can we do something purposeful.
Authors’ note – I have edited the information to clarify the fundraising component. Sales of Cavalier Courage will see a dollar from every bottle go to research and awareness initiatives while profits on the launch night overall will go to the venue, Virginia Plain, who have waived hiring fees for the effort. [PM]