What’s better than good music and good beer? Good music and good beer for a good cause. Brewery Band Ballyhoo, spearheaded by Keith Huizinga, owner of Kinslahger Brewing Company, brought the house down in the name of clean water and Great Lakes protection.

Keith grew up on the Great Lakes. Originally hailing from Coloma, MI a small town on the southeast shores of Lake Michigan — he’s always had an affinity for the Great Lakes and clean water.

Growing up, he took an interest in food and beer. Upon returning home from a semester abroad in the Netherlands, he decided to learn how to brew beer himself. Eventually, he opened up his brewery, Kinslahger, with two friends he’d met in a local homebrewing enthusiasts club.

In addition to making great beer, Keith and his co-owners want to make the world a better place. They decided to organize a fundraiser and they didn’t want to host a run-of-the-mill fundraiser though, they wanted it to be fun, creative, and unconventional. They came up with Brewery Band Ballyhoo, 50% battle of the bands, 50% beer festival. 100% a good time.  

 Brewers from Great Central Brewing Company take to the stage
Brewers from Great Central Brewing Company take to the stage

Keith reached out to other brewers in the area, and eight other breweries jumped at the chance to be involved! You can check them out here:

Buckledown Flapjack Argus
Great Central Miskatonic Blue Island
Bluenose Hopewell Kinslahger

Any brewer worth their hops knows the important role that water plays in brewing. Typically, water makes up about 95% of beer. The nine brewers reached a consensus quickly when deciding on an organization to support. “Everyone was on board with supporting clean water, so Alliance for Great Lakes was a natural fit,” said Keith.

The event was held at The Wire in Berwyn, IL. In addition to bringing their brewing chops to the event, they also had the opportunity to show off their musical prowess.

Brewery Band Ballyhoo Prize
Brewery bands competed for the grand prize, the (fake) gold medal!

Each brewery’s band performed a 15 minute set and competed for audience votes to win the Ballyhoo Gold Record Trophy. Bands performed all sort of songs, from bands like Creedence Clearwater Revival to Chicago natives Smoking Popes. Audience members were also treated to a kazoo rendition of the Flintstones theme song.

“All great beer starts with clean and quality water and breweries like Great Central Brewing Company are fortunate to have amazing sources like Lake Michigan right in our own backyard. After all, water, malt, yeast and hops are the core building blocks of our beer. We are proud to participate in this event which benefits an organization that will protect our Great Lakes for today and tomorrow. We also dig good music, supporting our fellow brewers and the craft beer community. We look forward to seeing everyone out tonight!” said David Avram of Great Central Brewing.

Alliance President & CEO Joel Brammeier addresses the crowd.
Alliance President & CEO Joel Brammeier addresses the crowd.

Alliance CEO & President Joel Brammeier spoke, saying “I’ve been to a lot of breweries and a lot of rock concerts, so I’m really excited about this event. It’s passionate people like all of you make Great Lakes protection possible. Thank you all for being here tonight!”

A crowd gathered around the stage at Brewery Band Ballyhoo
A full house at The Wire for Brewery Band Ballyhoo

Brewery Band Ballyhoo had about 300 guests, who were thrilled to support the cause by singing along and enjoying the local beer. All told, nearly $4,000 was raised for the Alliance! Thank you to Keith and all the breweries who participated, and a big congratulations to the band Trench Drain from Flapjack Brewery, who took home the trophy.

If your business wants to get involved in supporting the Great Lakes, please contact our Institutional Giving Manager, Megan Hilbrich.

Donate Today

Couldn’t make it to Brewery Band Ballyhoo? You can still contribute! Donate to protect the Great Lakes today.