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DuClaw Craft Beer – Community, solidarity...and awesome beer!

DuClaw is a Maryland-based brewery with packaged and draft beers in 22 states, D.C. and Canada. It’s part of a fun and exciting movement sweeping the United States.

Established in 1996 by David Benfield, DuClaw Brewing Company opened their first official location in Bel Air as a brew pub and was awarded “Bel Air Maryland’s Hippest Establishment” by a local newspaper within its first year of opening.

The brewery expanded again as its beer became more popular with customers. Today, DuClaw is a mid-sized brewery with a production facility outside of Baltimore, Maryland with a 60 barrel brewhouse system.

What Makes DuClaw so Unique?

Owner, David Benfield, and Director Of Brewery Operations, Chris Wood, strive to push the limits of craft beer. They have more than 35 unique beers with fun variations and blends. In 2021 alone, they released 38 limited versions as well as seven major brands offered year-round.

They offer year-round core brands, seasonal brands, and limited releases. One brew is categorized as one of the top ten strongest beers in the world at 21% ABV, and others contain flavors like chocolate, toffee, and nuts.

The craft beer industry is a great, fun community to be a part of, and DuClaw is proud to continue to push creative limits.

Giving Back to the Community

David and his team wake up every day pinching themselves at getting to live the dream of producing amazing craft beer. They know that not everyone has the same luxury and they feel empowered to give back to their communities. And just as they are fully dedicated to their business, they do the same when it comes to making a difference.

DuClaw + BottleShare Collab

BottleShare is a fundraising and grant distribution nonprofit organization for the craft beverage industry. They grant out emergency funds to members of the craft beverage industry when they experience extreme hardships that prevent them from working or producing an income. Craft beer drinkers are passionate about having a good time and enjoying unique beer with loved ones, and BottleShare channels that passion into making a difference by partnering with breweries to do collaboration beers. So far there have been four volumes of the project, each with a different brewery. When David learned about the opportunity to partner with BottleShare, there wasn’t a question in his mind. DuClaw was eager to participate.

Recipe ideation began and the teams eventually settled on doing a Neapolitan Stout with additions of strawberry, vanilla, cocoa, and lactose naming it “Three Scoops”.

Partners like DuClaw have great missions. Thanks to this collaboration they will donate 100% of all proceeds from beer sold through distribution to BottleShare for emergency funds to grant recipients on a quarterly basis. “We’re proud to join forces on this release. Every time we create a beer that’s a traditional nod to the simple pleasures in life, like ice cream, it tends to bring comfort to our consumers. And with this partnership, that comfort will extend to our craft beer community members in need, which is a great feeling,” said Rachel Bradley, marketing manager for DuClaw.

Why Giving Back is Important

BottleShare, is an awesome way for David to connect two of his passions – brewing great beer and giving back to the community he loves. “The craft beer community has embraced our business from day one and we care about our people. Feeding our energy back into that is what is important. We need to stick together,” said David. When he set out to establish DuClaw, he didn’t just want to start a business – he wanted to become a community partner.

Giving back offers a sense of purpose that you just can’t get any other way. It’s a big part of his ‘why’ in running the brewery. He knows that the success of his business means more opportunities to give back to the community.

"Judging by the past year and a half, it's safe to say that life will always throw you a curveball, but it's important for us to uplift each other when the unexpected happens,” said Rachel Bradley, marketing manager for DuClaw.

How Other Breweries Can Get Involved

Other breweries can join the BottleShare partnership program as a way of collaborating to give back. Brewery teams collaborate with BottleShare just like DuClaw.

Getting involved with individual organizations in your community is also an option. Nonprofit groups are always in need of more help and resources:

● Monetary donations

● Volunteers

● Event space

● Help to promote events and fundraisers

Think about a cause that’s important to you and your team – having a ‘why’ is so important in giving back. Let that passion for a particular cause fuel your efforts. Reach out to a local nonprofit organization and ask how you can get involved. Let them know about your team’s goals and capacity to volunteer or donate.

Identify unique ways that you can help out. Breweries have a unique platform to have fun with fundraising events, just like DuClaw’s ‘Three Scoops’ campaign in collaboration with BottleShare. Don’t be afraid to be bold, think outside the box, and stand out in your community.

Long-Term Sustainability

The DuClaw brewery team also wants to give back in an indirect way – by committing to the environment.

Investing in a Sustainable Process

There’s a worldwide trend toward sustainability and green business practices. David believes that his industry has an opportunity to participate in a big way by choosing sustainable brewing ingredients. DuClaw chooses to partner with companies like CocoaSupply for ingredients that are sustainably sourced, high quality and supportive of the local community over large corporations. “We choose to focus on buying from businesses like our own who care about doing things the right way,” said David.

CocoaSupply is a family business. They produce high-quality, sustainably sourced cacao products, which include cacao powder and vanilla beans. The cacao isn’t overly processed in an effort to preserve the health benefits and the CocoaSupply plant team works directly with farmers and plant owners to ensure sustainable processes from start to finish. They pass along the same high standards to their clients like DuClaw.

Why Sustainability is Important

Sustainability is increasingly gaining traction as more people realize that we need to do a better job of protecting our planet. Agricultural sustainability is particularly important to DuClaw since so many of their beers’ ingredients and adjuncts are grown on farms. From grain, to hops, to additions of fun flavors through fruit puree or cocoa, DuClaw’s beers are reliant on the agricultural system. DuClaw chooses to buy consciously with farmers and small businesses in mind and donates all spent grain back to farmers to feed their animals with.

The demand to increase crop production often adds pressure to the environment and natural resources. Sustainable practices in agriculture mean that:

● Production is streamlined to be more efficient

● Farmers have more profitability

● Participants at every level promote environmental stewardship

● Quality of life improves for those living in agricultural communities around the world

● Increase production for human food and fiber needs

How Other Breweries Can Invest in Sustainability

Take a look at where your brewery supplies come from. Do your partners prioritize sustainability as part of their own businesses? If not, start researching how you can get the same or similar products from a partner that participates in sustainable agriculture.

The team at DuClaw knew they could get cacao from nearly anywhere, but knowing that their product is sustainably farmed is important. When businesses like breweries prioritize sustainability, it puts pressure on suppliers to invest in sustainable practices.

It also offers customers the peace of mind that their purchases directly support sustainable practices. Beer drinkers and brewery owners feel confident knowing that they are making a difference for the future of our planet.

The team at DuClaw didn’t set out to change the world, but they’re doing just that through the brewery and they choose to engage and give back to their community through a case-by-case basis doing different projects throughout the year to support their various company values. They offer craft beer connoisseurs the taste of comfort and nostalgia with every sip.

The DuClaw business model is a great example of how a small business can blow up into massive success with the right mindset, even using their fresh and fun platform to bring bold awareness to important causes.

And they’re not just thinking about making a difference today. With a commitment to sustainable practices, the planet will reap the benefits of DuClaw’s impact for a long time to come.


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