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RVA breweries collaborate for 2nd Annual ‘Love on Tap’ VA Pride benefit 7/9

AmyDavid | July 7, 2017

Two years ago, the Supreme Court recognized equal marriage rights for all, and last year RVA brewery Hardywood and VA Pride celebrated the anniversary and Pride Month with a fundraiser and all day party with their “Love on Tap” event. And this year, they’ve brought it back with an even bigger event, and partnered with two other local breweries for the 2nd Annual celebration, which will kick off on Sunday.

The “Love on Tap” benefit event aims to continue to celebrate marriage equality and the LGBTQ community, with 10 percent of proceeds going toward VA Pride, a local non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources and an open and approachable forum for the LGBT community.

Building on last year’s success,  Hardywood’s Marketing Manager Matt Shofner said he wanted to combine a cause close to his heart with a mission of the brewery.

“As a gay man working in the beer industry, and for Hardywood in particular, where a major part of our mission is to engage with our community, I really wanted to find a way to bring these two separate facets of my life together,” he said. “Beyond my personal connection, Hardywood is a proud member of Equality Means Business so I wanted to bring our support for the LGBTQ community further into the forefront of our programming.”

The 2nd Annual event will also create awareness around Pride ahead of the annual festival on Brown’s Island in the fall.

“Creating and promoting a Pride event in June was an opportunity for Hardywood and VA Pride to connect with Pride Month in June, and launch promotional and fundraising efforts leading up to VA Pride in September,” he said.  (Note: Love On Tap is typically held in late June]

The first Love on Tap began to take shape in March 2016 after Shofner met Maureen Scott, treasurer on the Executive Board for VA Pride.

“As Maureen and I brainstormed together, we landed on celebrating the anniversary of marriage equality in the USA, which was coming up just three months after our initial meeting,” he said. “June 26, 2015 was a historical and monumental day as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality for same-sex couples in the USA. June also happens to be Pride Month commemorating the occurrence of the Stonewall Riots in NYC, which ultimately spawned the first Pride march.”

For the 2nd Annual event, Hardywood has collaborated with Ashland’s Center of the Universe Brewing and Ardent Craft Ales in Scott’s Addition to create a special beer for Love On Tap, “Tropic Like Its Hot.”

“Tropic Like It’s Hot is a hefeweizen brewed with passion fruit, pineapple and lime,” said Shofner. “This beer delivers an out and proud flavor profile that pairs perfectly with celebrating Pride in Virginia!”

This will be the first time the three RVA breweries have collaborated on any beer together, however Ardent and COTU made their own individual beers in collaboration with VA Pride and OutRVA last year to support Pride Month.

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James Millner, President of VA Pride, is looking forward to partnering with all the breweries again.

“We’re really excited, last year was a huge success, and we’re very excited to be working with them again, they’re fantastic partners for us, they’ve really pulled out all the stops to help make this really successful event,” Millner said. ”I think its awesome they are working so well together to support the LGBT community, and Pride as well.”

Millner said the event is a great way to get the LGBTQ community, their allies, and the rest of the public together to enjoy something they share a love for: beer.

“It brings LGBT folks out, it brings people from the rest of the community out, and everyone gets together over something they have in common,” he said. “It was really interesting last year at the Hardywood event to see so many straight people there enjoying this event…and they’re being entertained by drag queens and having a great time and it was just really, really cool.”

In addition to the new beer release, Love on Tap will feature 12 vendors including Maven Made, Mac’s Smack, BRK ReDesign, Orange Richmond, The Timbered Wolf, Ashleigh Lum, Bows and Bones Pet Grooming, RVA Garden Party, Allie Bones, Vintage Outside, LGBT Democrats of Virginia and VA Polyamory along with music from Dazeases and VV, two drag shows, DJ Amy Alderman and food from Gourmeltz,

Dank Eats, and River City Wood Fire Pizza.

Don’t expect the party to stop this month either. The other two breweries have events planned to keep celebrating Pride all summer long leading up to Richmond’s PrideFest on Brown’s Island in September. Center of the Universe will host COTU Cabana on August 12 and Ardent Craft Ales will throw a Speakeasy event on September 2. Stay tuned for more details on those as the dates get closer.

“They all offered to host events for us to help raise money and generate excitement for Pride,” Millner said. “Because Richmond doesn’t necessarily observe LGBT Pride Month with a Pride Festival, {In June }, we really wanted to have events all throughout the summer that people could participate in.”

Love On Tap kicks of this Sun., July 9, from 2 pm-6 pm at Hardywood. Free.