If you’ve turned on your TV, scrolled through social media, or picked up a newspaper in the past few weeks, you know a little about the ever-changing situation in Ukraine. When reports were published in late February that Pravda Brewery in Lviv, a city in Western Ukraine, had suspended brewing operations and shifted focus to manufacturing Molotov Cocktails, Craig Wensell, the CEO and head brewer of Wilmington Brew Works, became impressed with their improvisation. He kept a watchful eye and wanted to figure out a way to help.
“These are guys that know their craft but see the writing on the wall and are doing everything they can to help,” says Wensell. The Molotov Cocktails were being sent to the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces, but nothing in the news stories gave Wensell any indication of how he could help. He reached out to the brewers at Pravda, which means ‘Truth’, offering assistance - even if he could place orders for merchandise that would never be fulfilled.
“I didn’t expect to hear back but was hoping they would see the message of support.” As an Army veteran of the war in Afghanistan, he knows what it’s like to fight an uphill battle. Pravda received so many offers of support that they recently posted five of their award-winning beer recipes online, for brewers around the world to brew in solidarity.
Yuri Zastavny of Pravda Brewery shared a Facebook post announcing the collaboration, “As Lviv prepares for war, brewing is seen as an act of hope. It will take several weeks for the beer to be ready, but we hope that when it’s finished, we will be drinking this beer in a country that has won the war.”
Wilmington Brew Works immediately committed to brewing one of the ‘Victory Beer Series’, promising at least $1000 in contributions back to Pravda and Ukrainian Forces. “We had the perfect opening in our brew schedule and are excited to produce our version of their Ukrainian Imperial Stout.” The Wilmington, Delaware brewery is set to brew the beer towards the end of March and will most likely have it available for sale in 16 oz cans and on draught by the first week of April.
Wilmington is home to a sizable Ukrainian population and Wilmington Brew Works happens to sit a quarter mile down Miller Road from St. Nikolas Ukrainian Catholic church. The Brewery’s hope that this leads to a successful launch. Wensell says, “In the end, we’d love nothing more than for us, and every brewery around the world participating, to sell out on day one. Let’s show the Brewers at Pravda, and the Ukrainian people, that we have their back.”
A great brewery. A great cause. Can’t think of a better reason to grab this beer and others at “Brew Works.”
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