Braveheart Brewing’s beers are available at Newport Avenue Market, Trailhead Liquor and Redmond Liquor Store.

Call it beer with a mission. Braveheart Brewing, Bend’s newest brewery, is featuring beers for a cause.

The brewery will donate about 20 percent of sales of its four beers, POW/MIA Pilsner, Semper Fi American Wheat, Intrepid Hero IPA and Frogman Imperial Red Ale, to veterans’ organizations.

“Bend is the epicenter of the craft beer industry,” said Bob Sofsky, Braveheart Brewing founder and a veteran. “I want to raise funds for veterans through craft beer. The access to veteran donations is limited, and I wanted to come up with something novel.”

The beers are being brewed at Silver Moon Brewing, which brews in Bend and Redmond. The pairing of the two companies makes sense, Sofsky said, because one of Silver Moon’s missions is to brew for causes.

This year will be the fourth for Silver Moon crafting a beer to benefit cancer prevention, and the brewery holds a Sunday bingo day to benefit local charities.

Breweries have a long history of brewing so-called cause beers. Last fall, 17 local breweries joined Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., from Chico, California, in making Resilience, a recipe designed to raise money for the Camp Fire Relief Fund.

The Colorado-based Brewers Association doesn’t track the number of cause beers but is aware of breweries supporting charity efforts, said Bart Watson, Brewers Association chief economist.

“Veteran’s groups are often a beneficiary,” Watson wrote in an email. “The Sierra Nevada Resilience beer this year was almost certainly the (largest) cause-based beer of all time, so it is possible we’ll see a bump in these beers in the coming year given the success of that initiative.”

Each June, Silver Moon launches a F* Cancer beer to benefit the American Cancer Society and other cancer fighting groups, said Matt Barrett, an owner of Silver Moon Brewing.

“They reached out to us because they know we have done some charity-related activity,” Barrett said. “We have the capacity and have our mission for charities. They wanted to move from draft-only to cans.”

Sofsky said the initial brewing was done at Geist Beerworks, a small-batch brewery in Redmond.

Since the community was introduced to the beers in the fall, demand has grown and more capacity to brew was needed, Sofsky said.

Sofsky, who lives in California, runs a veterans nonprofit called Thanks-A-Bunch, which will not benefit from the beer sales.

Donations will be made to four other charities: the National League of POW/MIA Families, the Intrepid Heroes Fund, Seal Family Foundation and the 03XX Foundation.

Any way that the community wants to support helps, said Mark Stephensen, vice chairman of the National League of POW/MIA Families and western regional coordinator.

Braveheart Brewing approached the organization about two years ago, Stephensen said. It will print the organization’s logo on the beer can, he said.

“Efforts like this keep the issue in front of the public, and then, Congress will continue to fund the effort,” Stephensen said. “It’s just one more way to keep the effort top of mind and remind people that there are veterans out there that still haven’t come home.”

Sharing and helping others is rooted in the beer-making tradition and is common in the brewing industry, Barrett said.

“I come from the tech industry,” Barrett said. “The beer industry is the most cooperative group. We compete and sell against each other, but we are able to share resources, techniques and borrow supplies from each other. It’s a cooperative culture and different from most industries.”

Sofsky said Braveheart had been self-distributing, but has signed on with Point Blank Distributors, which will feature Braveheart beers at its annual trade show in May.

The craft beer market is a good forum to raise funds for veterans, he said. Retail sales of craft beer increased by 8 percent in 2017 to $26 billion, according to most recent Brewers Association statistics.

“Cause beer and craft beer is all about connecting people and community,” Barrett said. “Look at the early craft beer; it was all about community pubs.”

— Reporter: 541-633-2117, sroig@bendbulletin.com

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