That’s how brewery owner Bill Russell was raised. “I grew up in the area and spent countless hours on the Bay as a kid fishing and sailing,” said Russell. Fast-forward three decades, and now he is brewing his connection to Buzzards Bay into a range of craft beers, including a new Kölsch-style ale named “Sow & Pigs” after the reef off Cuttyhunk.
With a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Coalition’s work to protect clean water in communities across our region, Sow & Pigs is a testament to Russell’s love for the Bay.
Coalition President Mark Rasmussen is a beer enthusiast and has been vocal in his support for this creative way of protecting clean water. “I’m very excited about this new partnership with Westport’s Buzzards Bay Brewing that has given birth to Sow & Pigs ale,” he said. “Both the Coalition and the brewery share a strong commitment to supporting our local environment. Healthy farms, local food, and clean water for everyone are at the core of both of our missions. We also both love the Bay and its unique, almost secret places like the amazing Sow & Pigs Reef off Cuttyhunk.”
Russell, whose family farm once sat on the grounds of Buzzards Bay Brewing, remains an advocate for local agriculture and the South Coast community. “Our mission is two-fold: First, to utilize farmland as a resource for creating jobs and opportunities. Second, (to use that) space for the public. Farms are part of our heritage. (We are trying to) change the farm paradigm and bring people back onto the farm. It’s not the feel of being in a bar here — people respond to that. Part of our family mission is to engage the public on our farms to keep that heritage alive.”
We were fortunate enough to sit down with the man behind the beer to talk clean water, education, and this innovative partnership to bridge environmental stewardship and beer-making.
Update (10/20/2016): Since Sow & Pigs was created last year, the beer has sold out each summer, resulting in new profits for the brewery and increased public awareness for the Coalition’s work. Buzzards Bay Brewing is one of dozens of local businesses that invest in clean water through corporate membership with the Coalition. By becoming a corporate member, your business can be a champion for our local environment just like Buzzards Bay Brewing. Look out for Sow & Pigs at the brewery and local package stores in early summer.
How did Sow & Pigs come about?
When the Coalition emailed me last year and started talking about different collaborations, the brewery was ready to be involved. Buzzards Bay is our namesake and we’ve seen how successful the Coalition has been. We like how the Coalition engages people, and we’ve supported other local nonprofits.
We agreed that summer was the best time to release. We set out to find the right style and decided on an easy drinking, everyman kind of beer. We settled on the name Sow & Pigs because it’s one of the best known geographical features of Buzzards Bay.
How does purchasing Sow & Pigs help protect clean water?
We are splitting the profit 50-50 with the Coalition. It’s fairly straightforward — we tackle the cost of making, marketing, and getting it out there, and then we split the profit down the middle.
What is the one thing folks should know about Buzzards Bay Brewing?
Our hours! No, we want people to know it’s not just about the brewery. It’s about that sense of community. We want people to come out and be part of the South Coast. There’s nowhere else on the planet like it and there is so much to enjoy here. We want people to get out and do something — and drink our beer!
It sounds as though Buzzards Bay Brewing has a sense of social and environmental responsibility?
Water conservation seems like a natural inclination for us as a brewery. If we don’t take care of water, what else is there for us? Protecting clean water means water and land preservation, and – this is a huge one – education.
What’s your favorite place around the Bay?
Can I say Cuttyhunk Harbor? It would be there or right smack in the middle (of the Bay) — sails up, crashing waves, nothing better.
Lastly, where and when will folks be able to buy Sow & Pigs?
It’s available at the brewery and in local stores and restaurants in early summer.