Micro-Breweries Attract Macro Audience for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

June 10, 2008

Brian MacCarthy, event co-chairs Pete Gibson and Dennis O'Leary, and Tom Charhous were among the fashionable young professionals at the Metropolitan DC Chapter's Brewer's Ball.
Brian MacCarthy, event co-chairs Pete Gibson and Dennis O'Leary, and Tom Charhous were among the fashionable young professionals at the Metropolitan DC Chapter's Brewer's Ball.
On a Saturday evening in March, the Galleria at Lafayette Centre in Washington, D.C. was clearly the place to be—and be seen. Young professional up-and-comers crowded the entryways, others made last-minute attempts to secure tickets, and excited chatter filled the air as The Brewer’s Ball kicked off its fourth year. 

Hosted by the Metropolitan DC ChapterThe Brewer’s Ball has become a popular annual tradition. This year, the beer-tasting event attracted nearly 20 of the region’s best micro-breweries and brew pubs, several wineries and numerous restaurants, all donating their time and goods. Nearly 800 guests between the ages of 20 and 50 attended, and the event raised an impressive $220,000 for the CF Foundation.

Guests flocked to the 17 brewery and two wine-tasting stations, as well as to one of the night’s more popular attractions, the silent auction table. “We probably had 50 to 75 people gathered around the silent auction table, trying to outbid each other,” says Co-Chair Pete Gibson. Big auction draws included an opportunity to take to the field with the team at a 2008 Washington Redskins football game and an all-inclusive, luxury Las Vegas vacation. The silent auction alone raised nearly $60,000.

The evening’s Bid for a Cure came from volunteer David Ehrlich, whose sister Jennifer lost her battle with CF in 2000. Clapping as he took the stage, Ehrlich asked the crowd to join him only to have them stop moments later. “Now, how many of you are out of breath?” he asked guests. Ehrlich explained that for someone with cystic fibrosis, even simple clapping can be a physical challenge. Bid for a Cure raised nearly $10,000 from the crowd of young professionals.

“The energy was incredible; it was the best year we’ve had yet,” says Jennifer O’Leary, co-chair of the event. “In fact, everybody’s response has been, ‘When’s next year’s Brewer’s Ball?’”

Event co-chairs Dennis and Jennifer O’Leary and Cindy and Pete Gibson, along with key volunteers Brendan MacCarthy, Catherine and Brian Lacey, Debbie and Mark Mann and Lynn Rudolf deserve thanks for the event’s success. Participating breweries also deserve a round of applause.