Thursday, April 20, 2017
Steamboat Springs About 10 years ago, Rich Tucciarone and his wife, Wendy, were cruising through a New Hampshire brew pub checking out what he knows best: craft-brewed beer. They noticed patrons popping tokens into boxes, each representing a donation to a nonprofit.
“We made a mental note that we wanted to do that when we opened our own brewery,” said Wendy Tucciarone, owner of Steamboat’s Mountain Tap Brewery.
A decade later, the Tucciarones implemented Token Tuesdays at their brewery on Yampa Street.
“It’s an awesome idea,” said Reed Hines as he rolled his token on the bar on a Tuesday afternoon.
“My mom runs a nonprofit in Austin," Hines said. "This would be great.”
Patrons are given a token every time they buy a beer on Tuesdays. Before they leave, they drop their tokens into any of the four boxes that represent a different nonprofit in Routt County. At the end of the month, the organizations are given a dollar for every token.
“We’ve featured about 30 nonprofits," Tucciarone said. "It’s just been a great interactive way to support each of the groups and raise awareness with our own staff and customers.”
Token Tuesdays work two-fold. It provides extra income for good causes while bringing in folks that may not have walked into the brewery.
“I work at Old Town Hot Springs, and last month, I heard they were in Token Tuesday so I decided to come in and donate to the place I work,” said Barrett Sharp, who decided to come back and enjoy beers with his friends on a Tuesday.
That’s what the Tucciarones had in mind when they started Token Tuesdays. Wendy sees it as a great way for nonprofits to “rally the troops.”
“They’ll Facebook it or include it in their newsletters to help get people into the pub and spread the message,” Tucciarone said.
Sure enough, customers Angie Banks and Katie Caulfield started coming to Mountain Tap when their employer, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, was featured one month.
This time, they popped their tokens into boxes for Advocates Building Peaceful Communities and Routt County Search and Rescue.
“I chose Advocates because they’re helping people who suffer from domestic violence and sexual assault, and I think a big part of having a good community is being aware of those things,” Banks said.
Caulfield popped in a token for Search and Rescue.
“I remember seeing them in the newspaper, and I know they don’t get a lot of money and they volunteer,” she said.
Routt County Search and Rescue is currently the “king of the mountain,” which means the group collected the most money last month and gets to stay on an extra month.
Tucciarone says outdoor organizations tend to do well.
Maybe it’s because there are a lot of people like ranch hand Guy Bradach who enjoy Routt County’s incredible beauty. He dropped tokens in both the Trail Maintenance Fund and Search and Rescue.
“I spend a lot of time in the outdoors, and I’ve been in some hairy situations. I feel like they (Search and Rescue) do their job,” Bradach said.
More importantly, Token Tuesdays educate patrons every time they go up to the boxes to read what each of the organizations do.
“I might not normally give a donation to some of these groups, but since they give us the option, it’s easier to pick and a good way to do it,” said Bradach.
To date, Mountain Tap patrons have turned in $6,609 worth of tokens since the brewery opened last July.
“Any nonprofit in the county is welcome to apply,” explained Tucciarone.
“It’s a simple application.”
Mountain Tap, located at 910 Yampa St. in downtown Steamboat Springs, has about a dozen beers on tap, with four rotating new brews each month.
The brewery and pub will be closed for about three weeks in mud season from April 23 to May 11.