Rhett Keisler wanted to do something small to help his fellow Texans recover from one of the biggest storms to ever strike the region. It quickly turned into something much bigger.
Revolver Brewing, the beer company he and his father, Ron, founded in 2012, initially planned to make a 60-barrel batch of beer and turn the profits into direct support for relief efforts associated with Hurricane Harvey. But after presenting their Harvey Relief Golden Ale to Texas distributors, retailers and bars, it immediately became apparent their plan was much too modest.
Along with brewmaster Grant Wood and support from majority investor MillerCoors, Revolver upped production of the easy-drinking blonde ale 10-fold, with the first of some 600 barrels making its way onto tap handles in Texas bars and restaurants last week. Six-packs of Harvey Relief are rolling into retailers this week, with 100 percent of profits earmarked for charity.
The Granbury-based brewery, one of the fastest-growing breweries in Texas, will donate the proceeds to a series of nonprofits, starting with the Rebuilding Texas Fund, a disaster-relief fund established in August by Keep Texas Beautiful. Revolver’s distributors also pledged to donate their profits from the beer to charity, Keisler says.
“There was such strong interest. Everybody wanted to help,” Keisler says. “We saw this as a great way to get the community involved in raising money, and it’s real heart-warming to see everybody get behind such a great cause.”
Brewed with two-row Pilsner and Abbey malt and hopped with Saphir and Citra, the sessionable, 5.2 percent alcohol-by-volume ale is being sold statewide in Texas, including in chains such as H-E-B, Kroger and Buffalo Wild Wings.
The idea for Harvey Relief Golden Ale was hatched as the storm was still spinning in the Gulf of Mexico, says Keisler, who spent much of his youth in the Houston suburb Sugar Land, which was battered by the superstorm. “For us, it was a no-brainer,” he says. “Our heart goes out to those people, and we knew we had to do something to help.”
Revolver, which sold a majority stake to MillerCoors in 2016, partnered with the brewer to first arrange shipment of tens of thousands of cans of drinking water to areas affected by the storm. That was followed by a fleet of trucks filled with emergency supplies such as diapers, paper products, food and other supplies.
Finally came the beer, which was fast-tracked through the planning and approval processes, Keisler says. Revolver’s designers were able to work up a label for the beer within a couple of days. From there, the beer’s name and labels gained approval from Texas regulators, a process that “typically takes a few weeks, but in this case only took a day or two,” Keisler says.
Vendors who make Revolver’s labels and print its six-pack carriers also moved the project to the front of the line, enabling the brewery to push the beer out to retailers less than six weeks after the idea was born.
Now Texans can drink a beer for a good cause, an idea that’s not too hard to get behind.