Big Trout Brewing taps into community’s giving spirit, helps raise over $2,400 for Mountain Family Center
Emily and Tom Caldwell, owners of Winter Park’s Big Trout Brewing Co., do more than offer their own craft beers and food to the community.
“We’ve really focused on fundraising as part of our business model. When we first opened, our aim was to make sure we’re giving back to the community because we’ve been up here so long,” said Emily Caldwell, who moved with her husband Tom to Grand in 2006. They quickly realized that community members have a spirit of giving back. The couple decided to become part of this spirit through their own brewery.
This December, Big Trout Brewing set up a Christmas giving tree in their tap room, along with lots of wooden ornaments. Customers could buy ornaments by making a tax-free donation, starting at $5, then decorate and hang them on the tree. All their donations would go to Mountain Family Center, which Big Trout Brewing would match.
“(Mountain Family Center) is the most far-reaching group; they touch a lot of different people, a lot of different families,” Caldwell said of why they selected the nonprofit as the recipient for their Giving Tree.
Mountain Family has an umbrella of services, from providing diapers to babies, to social activities for seniors. Their main programs include rental/mortgage assistance, nutritional classes, cancer-related assistance and vision/dental assistance.
Customers donated $1,230 through the Giving Tree; once matched, Big Trout Brewing presented Mountain Family with a $2,460 check.
“We have some really giving families here. We had a few families that did a couple hundred-dollar donations,” Caldwell said. “It was just a fun way to interact with the guests, as well as raise some funds for a nonprofit.”
Big Trout Brewing opened in 2020, the same year as the devasting East Troublesome Fire, so their first fundraising efforts concentrated on helping fire victims. They donated nearly $10,000 through The Grand Foundation and the Colorado Fire Fighters Association. After the fire ended, the Caldwells’ desire to give back to their community kept going.
They’ve donated kegs to nonprofit events and fundraisers, as well as offer gift cards and swag for silent auctions. In 2022, their dining night fundraisers raised $500 each for the Fraser Elementary School PAC and Grand Kids Learning Center.
Another way Big Trout gives back is through their “Rick Stout.” When customers purchase this beer, 20% of the proceeds go to local nonprofits. The beer is dedicated to Rick Stone, a generous community member and instructor for the National Sports Center for the Disabled.
“He was a good friend of ours with a big heart — just the most giving person we’ve ever met. He passed away right before we opened the brewery,” Caldwell said.
Big Trout Brewing reported donating $7,300 to Grand County nonprofits and charities, including the Giving Tree funds in 2022. They also donated over $3,000 through in-kind donations.
“We just love this community; it was really cool to see so many families come out and support the fundraiser … and do a lot of giving this December,” Caldwell said of their first season providing the tree. “It reaffirms to us how awesome Grand County is and that was why we brought this forward.”
Editor’s note: Sky-Hi News reporter Meg Soyars also works as the community programs coordinator for the Mountain Family Center.
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