Old Irving Brewing x HFTD: HOPS FOR HOPE

hops for hope stack.jpg

Chicago’s own Old Irving Brewing Company is making it happen with Hope For The Day and Hops For Hope! Celebrating Illinois Craft Beer Week and Mental Health Awareness Month, OIB released the world’s first beer supporting proactive suicide prevention and mental health education on May 13th. Proactive prevention means starting the conversation about mental health before it adversely impacts our lives.

We kicked off the release of Hops For Hope with a free Brewtender Bash at Old Irving Brewing, and on Thursday, May 16th, we’re co-hosting an Indoor Beer Festival with Old Irving Brewing, where Chicago will get its first sips of Hops for Hope, thanks to this collaboration.

How did we get here?

hops for hope glassware.jpg

Hope For The Day, established in 2011 by Jonny Boucher, has a history of meeting people where they are, armed with resources for being proactive in taking care of and talking about mental health. Initially Boucher conducted concert outreach in the early years. Soon after, HFTD started putting resources on everyday products, breaking the silence using the written word and raising the visibility of mental health resources.

First, Dark Matter Coffee helped put the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Crisis Text Line on a bag of coffee. What started as a special blend of beans by DMC, named Sip of Hope in support of HFTD's mission, grew into Logan Square's Sip of Hope Coffee Bar, located at 3039 W. Fullerton Avenue. Sip of Hope opened its doors on May 3rd, 2018 and is the world’s first coffee shop where 100% of proceeds support proactive suicide prevention and mental health education.

In the year since Sip of Hope opened, our Colorado-based Partner in Prevention, Hope Foods, has followed DMC’s example, educating their staff from management to manufacturing, and using their organic spreads and hummus as a platform to start the conversation.

Heavy metal burger legends, Kuma's Corner has also brought in HFTD education workshops for their crew at all four of their locations in the Chicago area while using their Burger of the Month to further support Proactive Prevention.

And here we are, introducing Hops For Hope: a very special beer with a straight forward label brought to you in partnership with our Old Irving Brewing family.

The Label

Words are powerful because you read them in your own head instead of hearing them said to you. The words on this label are revolutionary. They openly acknowledge that we all have been heartbroken. By grief. By love. By money. By family. By whatever may have brought us pain.

You’ll find the standard information you’d find on a beer label (Hops For Hope is a 7.5% abv double dry hopped IPA, brewed and canned by Old Irving Brewing Co. at 4419 W. Montrose Ave.) but you’ll also find emergency resources available 24/7 nationwide to support those in crisis, and the following message:

“We understand that the more we talk about mental health, the more we realize we are not crazy, messed up or insane. We are human beings going through a thing called life and if we need help, it starts with understanding that IT’S OK NOT TO BE OK.”

Powerful stuff on a can of beer.

hops for hope label.jpg

Self-medication is something that most people resort to when life gets heavy. Alcohol just happens to be the most socially accepted and sadly, a cheap bottle at the corner store is more accessible than navigating the healthcare system most days.

When the darkness starts to swallow us up, we just want to feel better, or feel nothing at all. But self-medication is just a band-aid.

When we acknowledge it and talk about taking care of our brains openly, we normalize it. The words on this label encourage you to do just that:

Start the conversation with this beer. We are in this together.

Respect the dignity of the individual, appreciating that we can never truly know the pain of another completely, nor should we claim to. We are prisoners of our own perception. But we can connect, share our perspective, our experiences, filling in the gaps we all possess and helping fight the darkness together.

So let’s raise a pint to the good days and the bad days. To life and all that makes us human. Below are the perspectives of a few individuals involved in making this brew a possibility. Cheers!

Head Brewer and Co-Founder of Old Irving Brewing Co., Trevor Rose-Hamblin:

crew at brewery.jpg

“When I first came to Chicago over a decade ago, I had two major goals. One was to open a joint. The other was to change the way that restaurants operate. I came from restaurants where they would grind people into the ground day in and day out. The chefs were folks that had been shit on their whole life, and they were hell bent on letting that shit flow on down to the next generation. 

This mentality caused a base of emotional and psychological harm to people who already have plenty of natural work-related stress. This industry is wrought with issues, and I absolutely LOVE IT. It’s my home. This fucked up chaos of hard lessons and long, daunting shifts have made me grow sideways into the weirdo you know today.

I want to give back and help to de-stigmatize the conversation about our mental health in our community. With Hope For The Day, I get to do just that. During craft beer week (May10th-May 17th) on Monday, May 13th, I am having some friends who are cocktail wizards creating some fun concoctions while we release Hops For Hope, a DDH DIPA, so we can have a conversation over a beer. THEN on Thursday, May 16th we are hosting a big ole beer fest. I have a lot of brewery friends coming out to support the message that IT’S OK NOT TO BE OK.

Come out and hoist one with me and let’s chat about how every single person can make an impact!”

Founder and CEO of Hope For The Day, Jonny Boucher:

“Hope For The Day is excited to release this beer with our Partners in Prevention Old Irving Brewing Co. during Illinois Craft Beer Week! The can lists 24-hour hotlines and resources available anywhere in America and a portion of the proceeds support Hope for the Day’s Proactive Prevention programs. 

This is so important to me as my uncle John took his life by abusing alcohol for many years and I’ve been left with this simple question, “How can WE reach people like my uncle who depended on the bottle to get him through the good days and bad days?” 

It’s easy to blame alcohol companies, but the truth is people drink and HFTD would rather work with the companies than blame them. This beer isn’t to get you shit-faced, it’s to start the conversation with yourself and your friends about mental health. We must meet people where they are at and not where we expect them to be. Join HFTD on 5/16 for the HOPS FOR HOPE beer fest with a bunch of friends in the beer industry who choose to not be silent about mental health. Consume responsibly and please look out for your friends and family.”

Yorkville Alderman, Founder of NSPAMP, and HFTD Agent of Impact, Joel Frieders:

“Craft beer and the art of brewing is something I am enamored with personally. In fact, one of my passions is sharing my love of beers and breweries with my friends Ryan, Ang, and Ben, via our beer page Hopsmash. My father and I used to brew in our pharmacy's garage 8 or 9 years ago, so I know what all goes into a SMALL batch of beer, but this specific batch of beer was heavy. The significance of where I was and what I was doing was not lost on me. Last May, when I first met with Mike Vinopal from Hope For the Day at Sip of Hope Coffee Bar to talk about the National Suicide Prevention + Action Month Proclamation Project (NSPAMP), as we were first getting to know each other, I mentioned my love of craft beer . . .

joel brewing.jpg

Fast forward 11 months and I find myself hoisting a 55-lb. bag of flaked wheat onto my shoulder and shaking it into an enormous mash kettle at Old Irving Brewing with Mike and Jonny, as the Head Brewer and Co-Founder of OIB, Trevor Rose-Hamblin, stands next to me overseeing the mash in.

The history of how Old Irving Brewing came to be is devastating [and relevant to HFTD’s cause]. But, taking a look around me while the beer was in the boil kettle, at where Old Irving Brewing is now, is incredibly inspiring. The energy pouring out of OIB, through their fantastic beers, their phenomenal food, and their personable and responsive staff is nothing short of award winning. No seriously, there's certificates and trophies and medals all over the damn place. They literally win awards for this stuff. Honestly, being able to brew with these guys was one of the highlights of my life.

Hops For Hope is the first introduction (that I know of) of the conversation around mental health and suicide as a sidecar to an alcoholic beverage.

Recognizing this as revolutionary might get some people rolling their eyes, but if cigarettes have warnings about cancer on the box, and beers already contain warnings about the potential physical health implications of using the product on the can, don't we already have a medium to deliver "IT'S OK NOT TO BE OK"?

I never imagined the NSPAMP Project and my love of beer would intersect, but they did, and from the smells of it, it's going to be a delicious conversation starter about why I'm personally involved in suicide prevention.”

Join us at Old Irving Brewing for our HOPS FOR HOPE Indoor Beer Fest on Thursday May 16th, 6-9PM. BUY TICKETS.

Mike Vinopal