Bottoms up for Brews and Bros

by Matthew Bramlett

Cable Airport was transformed into a beer lover’s paradise on Saturday during the seventh annual Brews and Bros Festival.

Hundreds of people from all over the region gathered at the Upland airport to drink, eat, socialize and listen to some classic rock favorites. But the festival is also promoting a good cause—100 percent of the proceeds go to the Claremont Educational Foundation, which helps pay for needs in Claremont classrooms.

“This has been a great day, we could not have had better weather,” Karen McMillen, CEF’s president, said. “It’s such an amazing turnout with breweries and all of our vendors.”

The perimeter of the event space was lined with breweries from all over the region, from local favorites such as Last Name Brewing and Claremont Craft Ales to LA’s very own Angel City Brewery.

This is the seventh iteration of the event, and Ms. McMillen noted that typically the festival raises anywhere from $30,000 to $35,000 a year.

“So we have raised well over $100,000 for Claremont schools from this event,” she added.

Last year, the festival raised around $37,000. Given that this year’s event sold out, it would be safe to say CEF is on track to meet or break that total.

The money raised from the event will go toward art, music and technology at Claremont schools, Ms. McMillen said. Elementary schools will get funding for art and music programs, and the money for tech will go to intermediate and high school level programs.

Brianna Miller, CEF’s development director, said the tech money would go towards buying iPads for students—getting closer toward the goal of having one iPad per student.

The money also goes toward teacher innovation grants and special projects such as the third grade history project, Ms. McMillen said.

The festival also coincides with Last Name Brewing’s seventeenth anniversary.

“There are very few things I’ve done for 17 years of my life,” Andy Dale of Last Name Brewing said. “I’ve been married, had a child, and I’ve been breathing—those are the things I’ve been doing longer than 17 years.”

On their tenth anniversary, Mr. Dale and Ms. McMillen, who are married, saw an opportunity to have a one-of-a-kind brew festival in the Inland Valley while also supporting a good cause. They partnered with CEF and the rest is history.

“It’s just amazing, every year it gets busier and busier and we’ve got more breweries wanting to get in here,” Mr. Dale said. “And it’s just got a great vibe. This is one of them that breweries really want to come to.”

Some of the local sponsors for the event include the DoubleTree Hotel, Rhino Records and the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

Mr. Dale remarked on how the brewery industry has changed in the 17 years Last Name has been around—in the early 2000s, cities didn’t know what to do with a brewery business, but now they actively seek them out. Last Name has also written letters of recommendation to cities on behalf of other breweries looking to get started, he said.

“Even in the town of Upland there are at least four breweries,” Mr. Dale said.

Ultimately, Ms. McMillen said, the event is a great way to throw a big birthday bash while also donating the proceeds to a good cause.

“We like to say, doing good tastes great,” she said


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