Outstanding Small Business Philanthropist: Birdfish Brewing Co.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – From her own experience, nominator Crissi Jenkins was aware of the philanthropy of Birdfish Brewing Co.
It wasn’t until she delved deeper and heard from other beneficiaries about the craft brewery’s giving that she realized the “staggering number” of nonprofits that Birdfish has poured its resources into.
“Something that we’ve always tried to do over the years is be involved in something to help the community and local organizations,” Jon Dunn, Birdfish co-owner, says.
Coming up on its eighth anniversary, Birdfish was launched in 2015 by Jon and his brother, Josh; their cousin, Jared Channell; and Greg Snyder, the Dunns’ brother-in-law.
Birdfish produces around 1,500 barrels annually. About half of its output is consumed or sold on site, while the rest is sold in bars and retail outlets ranging from the Mahoning Valley to Cleveland and Akron.
The brewery has produced more than 150 beers, Dunn says. Birdfish’s flagship IPA, or India pale ale, is Too Hip to Sip.
A portion of sales of another mainstay, the Park IPA, is set aside for projects in Columbiana parks – just one example of Birdfish’s philanthropy. In early October, the brewery hosted a benefit for Canfield’s cross county teams that included a basket raffle, 50/50 drawing and a limited-edition brew, Runner’s HI-PA.
Birdfish’s philanthropy began shortly after the brewery opened, with a Tips for a Cause fundraiser tied to a Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society. That evolved into Craft Beer for a Cause, in which a portion of beer and merchandise sales are donated to a local organization.
Another benefit the brewery hosted, Pours for Potential, raised funds for Potential Development, the Youngstown school that works with children with autism. As planning progressed and even during the event, Birdfish kept adding elements to raise more money for Potential Development.
“Throughout that process, I realized how truly philanthropic the company is,” says Jenkins, chief growth officer at Potential Development in Youngstown. “We were deeply touched that multiple bartenders donated all their tips back to us at that event. These were just hard-working, young individuals that follow the lead of the owners in terms of giving back.”
Other beneficiaries of Birdfish’s generosity include Second Harvest Foodbank, Youngstown State University’s Rich Center for Autism, YSU Foundation, Leonard Kirtz School and Walnut Grove.
Pictured at top: Jon Dunn, co-owner of Birdfish Brewing Co.