Stephen Roginson opened Batch Brewing Co. in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood in 2015 when he decided to turn his passion as a homebrewer into a full-fledged brewery. Roginson wanted Batch to be not just a bar but also a place that could create community. “An opportunity to come together with people over beer and food is about the best thing society has produced,” Roginson says.
Batch’s giving efforts began with Feelgood Tap. Each month, Roginson and his team would select a beer and raise the price $1, donating the added dollar to a designated nonprofit. The approach was so successful that in 2016, Batch launched Feelgood Tap as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and began recruiting other establishments to offer Feelgood Taps of their own. Between 2016 and early 2020, the program raised approximately $300,000.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought the program to a screeching halt, as closed bars could not generate charitable donations from dry taps. Batch Brewing, however, pivoted to continue its charitable mission in new ways and encouraged its partners to do the same.
When the second shutdown that began in November 2020 hit the industry particularly hard, Batch responded by hosting a dinner with Detroit BBQ Co. and Felony Provisions. Roginson says the dinner raised a few thousand dollars from paid guests, while out-of-work industry employees were invited to eat for free. Additional dinners followed, including a pig roast with former Corktown restaurant Lady of the House.
Funds raised from the dinners were combined with the money Feelgood Tap had set aside to hire an executive director, and in December 2020, Roginson was able to issue $60,000 in cash grants to unemployed industry workers.
Feelgood Tap remains on hold at Batch. In the meantime, Batch will continue to hold events aimed at fundraising for organizations that support workers affected by COVID-19, as well as social justice efforts.
Batch Brewing Co., 1400 Porter St., Detroit; batchbrewingcompany.com
This story is part of our Give Detroit package and is featured in the November 2021 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more stories in our digital edition.