Contact: David Purgason
Central Coast craft breweries donate unsold beer to protect against COVID-19
WATSONVILLE, CA — With restaurants and bars throughout California closed due to Covid-19, Fruition Brewery owners Tallula Preston and David Purgason have discovered another way to use extra beer lingering in shuttered bars and restaurants throughout the Central Coast. Concerned that the quality of their craft beer already sitting in establishments would deteriorate before it was consumed, they offered to take back their kegs and replace them with fresh beer when the shelter-in-place order is lifted. Since their Watsonville taproom is also closed, Fruition decided they would rather find another use for their beer rather than serve anything less than fresh. As news of shortages of medical supplies made headlines, the couple reached out to Blume Distillation in Watsonville to see if they could turn their beer into hand sanitizer.
Bio-refinery Blume Distillation works with agricultural businesses throughout California, including Del Monte, Martinelli’s and Dole, to turn food waste into clean alcohol that can be used for fuel. As news of Coronavirus spread, they started to receive numerous requests for hand sanitizer. Although they had never made hand sanitizer before, co-founder Tom Harvey says, “In pressing times, you have to come up with innovative answers.” Two months ago, they began working on formulation and production. Now on the hunt for raw materials, Harvey says Purgason’s call couldn’t have come at a better time.
While Blume Distillation has processed wine waste from wineries and spent grain from breweries, they have never used beer before. “We have been taking food waste from farmers for a long time. Working with micro-breweries is the perfect complement to what we’re doing. It creates a closed-loop system of production,” says Harvey.
With the green light from Harvey, Fruition reached out to other local breweries to donate their unused beer, and received an enthusiastic response. So far, Discretion Brewing in Soquel, Other Brother Beer in Seaside and Fruition Brewing have donated, with many more expressing interest. “Now that the word is out, we think that interest will grow,” says Preston. “Depending on how long this goes on, this could be a good way to salvage beer that would otherwise go down the drain.”
Blume Distillation will create four-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer and 32-ounce refillable bottles. The final phase of production will finish within the next two weeks. While much of their current production is prioritized for medical clinics, private practices, civil servants and other community members on the Central Coast, they hope to provide it to the general community soon. Interested parties may reach out through their website, blumedistillation.com.
Fruition continues to brew fresh craft beer using high-quality and locally sourced ingredients. They are offering free local delivery for cans and bottles through their website fruitionbrewing.com.
About Fruition Brewing
Fruition Brewing is the vision of David Purgason and Tallula Preston, who met through mutual friends at Seven Bridges Organic Brewing Supply. They bonded over the love of beer, and the desire to create a space where old and new friends can gather around great beer.
Our beer is brewed on a 7 barrel system (220 gallon), built from a variety of repurposed wine and dairy tanks, as well as a custom built direct-fire kettle. We strive to utilize sustainable, organic, and local ingredients from the world class farmers here in Watsonville and the surrounding counties. We source ingredients from Admiral Maltings, Akiyama Hop Yard, Giga Yeast, Dirty Girl Produce, JSM Organics, Ox and Willow Farm, and many others. Our spent grain goes to the lucky herd at Garden Variety Cheese, whose cheese can occasionally be found on our menu.