Ukrainian-born Naz Drebot helped start a brewery in the U.S. in 2015. Now he’s running his own in Kyiv and brewers around the world want to help his country as it faces an ongoing Russia invasion.
Ukraine’s plight is personal to 42 North Brewing Company in East Aurora, New York. “He helped us build the place,” said brewery founder John Cimperman. “Half the recipes we still have on our wall today are beers that he designed recipes for, so he’s a member of the family in more ways than one. …When all these horrific events began a month or so back we said, ‘What can we do?'”
So Cimperman and Drebot, and some other brewers including Clay Keel of Keel Farms Agrarian Ales and Ciders in Plant City, Florida, teamed up to make a beer called Resolve, with proceeds from the beer going to support humanitarian efforts to help citizens of Ukraine and refugees who have gone to Poland to escape Russia’s invasion of the country.
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42 North kickstarted the effort in March by posting two recipes and a label online and brewing its own Resolve beer. It’s currently available at Wegmans supermarkets in the Buffalo, New York area. More than 30 other breweries – most in the U.S., but some in the U.K., Poland, Hungary and Ukraine – are participating, too.
Drebot helped create one of the two base recipes for a crisp lager known as a Kellerbier available on the Resolve web site. He also designed the label which includes the Ukrainian word for “freedom.”
Drebot’s brewery, which is planning to make the Resolve beer next week, continues to operate and export beer throughout Europe. Since the invasion, Drebot has not been able to help out with brewing himself, but spent some time serving in the Territorial Defence Forces manning a sentry post.
More recently, he’s switched to volunteering to help with supplies and international press assistance. “I just want to protect my country,” Drebot said during a Zoom call recently.
Drebot returned to Ukraine in 2016 and co-founded his own brewery in Kyiv, 2085 Brewery, two years ago. “The United States is my second homeland. The country helped me a lot and is still helping out my country,” he said.
He said he has seen some firsthand some of the atrocities reported recently. “It’s horrible. The world should know about what’s happening. … You see civilians with hands tied behind their backs with shots in the head,” he said. “It’s like 9/11 every single day.”
42 North is donating at least $10,000, Cimperman said, and he hopes the number of breweries joining in to make the beer grows.
“If we can get 50 breweries, now we’re talking,” he said.
Proceeds from the beer go to the Global Empowerment Mission, which is providing aid to both the fighters and families that remain in Ukraine, as well as the refugees that have fled to neighboring Poland, and the World Central Kitchen, which has served millions of meals in Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Moldova and Hungary since the outset of the Russian invasion.
“This is just one small thing we can do to hopefully raise some money, but equally as important show Naz and his fellow countrymen that we have their back and there is solidarity here,” Cimperman said.
For more information on Resolve beer and participating breweries visit: resolveukrainebeer.com
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.
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