The two breweries have created Roots, a ginger beer to celebrate Cincinnati’s creative spirit and help the nonprofit raise money to support more than 100 local arts organizations.
“We like to see art in everything,” said Spencer Mapes, who is coordinating the campaign for ArtsWave. “We like to partner with other outside-of-the-box organizations like breweries, bars and restaurants.”
Roots is on tap at about 10 locations in Greater Cincinnati now through April 28. (See where Roots is sold here.) A portion of the beer’s sales go directly to ArtsWave.
The brew was the outgrowth of the partnership started last year between ArtsWave and Listermann, Mapes said. Jason Brewer of Listermann helped ArtsWave coordinate tastings with other regional craft brewers for “Toast to the Arts” during its 2015 campaign. Listermann offered a twist on that partnership this year when head brewer Patrick Gilroy contacted Blank Slate to help create a commemorative drink.
“Blank Slate and Listermann have a pretty intertwined history,” said Scott LaFollette, Blank Slate’s head brewer. “We’ve collaborated in the past.”
LaFollette said the two breweries settled on the ginger beer because it works both as a standalone brew and base for cocktails, another component to “Toast to the Arts.” ArtsWave is also hosting a cocktail competition among 16 participating bars and restaurants. People can vote on their favorite cocktail here.
Even ArtsWave employees got involved with making the beer. They chopped ginger root that went into the brewing process at Listermann. Those employees later returned to Listermann for the first tapping of Roots.
Within the next week or so, bottles of Roots will be available for sale at select retailers. ArtsWave hopes Roots sales will help it reach its $12.45 million fundraising goal.
Mapes said Listermann and Blank Slate are the perfect examples of the types of communities ArtsWave supports — groups of people creating "art" outside of the traditional sense and who support other creative ventures in Greater Cincinnati.
“Those breweries are definitely community focused,” he said. “It is because of those things that we want to partner with them to keep Cincinnati amazing.”