Austin Small Businesses Unite for Stop AAPI Hate, Celebrate Asian Heritage Through Beer
Photo credit to Tyler Hood, Austin Beerworks
UPDATE: there is a relaunch and a new event happening this Saturday, May 21, 11 am to 6 pm
“This is more than a beer, this is a celebration and a way for us to bring awareness to Stop AAPI Hate. I’m really looking forward to seeing the Austin community coming out and supporting the Asian community and a great cause,” Chris Gomez, Kaiju Cut + Sew Owner
Several local small businesses will unite to ring in the Lunar New Year and bring attention to Stop AAPI Hate this weekend. Discrimination and hate against Asian American Pacific Islander communities has risen during the pandemic, and Stop AAPI Hate unites communities to stand against racism. This event brings the collaborative spirit of Austin Beerworks, Kaiju Cut + Sew, Austin Flea, Texas Brewery Running Series, and several others for an event you will not want to miss. Expect a beer collab release, a low-key fun run, 35+ local artisans and makers, Asian-inspired food trucks, live music, and a performance by the Texas Dragon Dance Team.
“EASTERN PHILOSOPHY: A KAIJU BREW” – BEER RELEASE
Talented local maker, Chris Gomez, owner of Kaiju Cut + Sew and Will Golden, co-owner of Austin Beerworks collaborated to create “Eastern Philosophy: A Kaiju Brew”. This beer is a jasmine dragon pearl tea-infused strong lager made to be poured over ice. Golden designed the recipe, while Gomez suggested infusing it with green tea, leading to this innovative beverage. According to Austin Beerworks, “We brew for two reasons: to make consistently exceptional craft beer and to build community in the town we love.”
The vibrant can label, designed by Alana Louise Lyons, features powerful photos of both her grandmother as well as Gomez’s mother, on the day they each received their natural U.S. Citizenships. Lyons, a Seattle-based first-generation immigrant who was naturalized in San Antonio, Texas, brings over a decade of professional experience to her craft.
The release will drop on January 30, 2022 at Austin Beerworks from 11am – 6pm.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Eastern Philosophy, as well as Kaiju Cut and Sew sales will go to Stop AAPI Hate.
WHO IS KAIJU CUT + SEW?
After 20+ years of high-tech industry engineering, burnout finally set in for Chris Gomez. In December of 2016, he taught himself how to sew, and something clicked. He began doing weekend events and what started as a hobby quickly became a realized passion. He finally took the plunge, quitting his corporate job a mere two weeks before the Covid shutdown. “I was in limbo for a little while but decided that I would pivot my business to making face masks so I could donate the proceeds to various local charities,” Gomez says. Adding, “To this date, I have made thousands of face masks and donated $30k to 16 different local charities. I guess you could say that making face masks saved my business. Now I’m back to doing shows, and events, and making a full line of products featuring Japanese fabrics and ethically sourced leathers…oh and collaborating on a beer with Austin Beerworks!”
Photo credit to Kaiju Cut + Sew; Picture of Waffles the Corgi, Kaiju’s mascot, modeling some “Air Goji” hat swag
Gomez, a self-proclaimed diehard Austin Beerworks fan since their inception, began a true friendship with the ABW team at the start of the pandemic through mask-making and sealed it with last year’s infamous Texas freeze. During the winter storm, ABW set a phenomenal example by providing free water to the Austin community. Gomez reached out in hopes he could pick up water to distribute throughout the city. Golden’s answer was a resounding, “yes, of course!” “I mean this was such a generous act of kindness that they did for the community and I still get choked up just thinking about it,” Gomez admits. “I approached Will several months later with the idea of collaborating on a beer to help raise awareness for Stop AAPI Hate since I’m of Asian descent and would learn that Will is as well. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that doing a collaboration with them would come true!” Gomez exclaims. This was my first time collaborating on a beer as well as brewing a beer on a large scale. They have welcomed me to their family with open arms and have treated me like one of their own, he adds.
The Austin Flea celebrates 14 years of bringing masterly curated artisan markets to the greater Austin area. The Lunar New Year celebration is no exception, with over 35 talented local artists and makers slated to be on-site at Austin Beerworks from 11am to 4pm.
Owner & Founder, Kristin Jacobson brings a fascinating culmination of experience in the beer industry, from running nostalgic staples like the Ginger Man (RIP), to her years as the Texas Craft Brewers Festival Volunteer Manager mixed with a knack for fundraising and bringing people together.
“It’s really about supporting the community and small businesses, whether that’s the vendors or the venues,” she says. Continuing, “It’s about making a positive impact on them and the shoppers and about building relationships with our community. That’s a huge part of what we do”
She credits aspects of this entire day to just how wonderfully small and supportive the beer world can be. Sheila Garcia, Director of Hospitality at Austin Beerworks and host of this Lunar New Year event, introduced Jacobson to fellow participating small business, Texas Brewery Running Series guru Gabby Lindgren at an Austin Flea event years ago. One of the Flea’s most frequent vendors just so happens to be Kaiju Cut + Sew, who was also on-site gracing patrons that particular day with his delightful makings. Seeing all these triumvirate relationships that eventually led to this Lunar New Year celebration is so rewarding for Jacobson. Cross-over teamwork leads to positive change!
TEXAS BREWERY RUNNING SERIES FUN RUN
Texas Brewery Running Series kicks off their New Year of stellar brewery partnerships with a free and informal fun run with 100% of all donations this weekend going to Stop AAPI Hate. They typically offer a 5k course, with 10% of their proceeds going to local charities, but with the day being so focused on such a worthy cause, they’re hoping to bolster some additional turnout for those looking for a reason to get outside and get moving. The run kicks off at 10:30am and while the event is open to the public, space is limited. Make sure to RSVP as it’s required to participate in the running portion and will ensure you receive ample information prior to the event via email.
“Our mission at the Texas Brewery Running Series is to be active, have fun, and give back. We’re always looking for additional community opportunities where we can support local organizations,” states Gabbi Lindgren, Director of Events. Participating in this day and supporting so many partnerships, was an easy ‘yes’ for Lindgren. “One of our favorite organizations locally is the Austin Flea which supports local artists and makers. And of course, we have deep ties to the Texas brewing community.”
Photo credit to the Austin Flea; (L) Gabbi Lindgren, Texas Brewery Running Series, (R) Kristin Jacobson, Austin Flea
“Anyone that isn’t familiar with us can come try us out,” Lindgren encourages. She also hints, “We’re offering some pretty deep discounts on our 2022 running series” for those that sign up at Austin Beerworks. Upcoming spring series includes events at 4th Tap, Oddwood Brewing, Oskar Blues, Roadmap Brewing, Southern Heights, Last Stand Brewing, Vacancy Brewing, Dos Sirenos Brewing, Slackers Brewing, New Braunfels Brewing Co, and Longtab Brewing.
FOOD TRUCKS & ENTERTAINMENT
Asian-inspired cuisine goes hand-in-hand with this celebration. Both the ABW Cantina will offer a curated menu by Head Chef, Enma Lopez as well as Rice is Right food truck along with Owner, San Wang will be on-site providing delicious delicacies.
If this day wasn’t already full of thrilling components, you can also expect a full day of live entertainment. The brilliant Texas Dragon Dance Team will perform a Lion Dance at 12pm. From 1pm – 2:30pm you can catch live music from Candler Wilkinson and Bruised Sinatra will finish the day playing from 3pm – 5pm.
There you have it, folks! An absolutely jam-packed day celebrating the Year of the Tiger and bringing awareness to Stop AAPI Hate. What a phenomenal event!
[Feature photo credit to Tyler Hood, Austin Beerworks]