Dozens of North Carolina Brewers Put Together Special Recipe to Fund Autism Tennis Program

The pandemic has now been postponing or modifying events for a year. This can be tough for fundraising efforts. Things are no different for a group of brewers whose annual festival benefits a local autism tennis program. However, they’re still finding a way to raise money, despite event cancellations.

Each year, the Queen City Brewers Festival brings together dozens of breweries and cider makers local to the Charlotte, North Carolina area. A few years in, they began partnering with ACEing Autism, an organization that brings tennis to kids with autism. The proceeds from the event benefit the organization.

This year, due to not being able to hold the festival, organizers have chosen to raise money with a new double IPA recipe called ‘Court Shoes Only,’ which was developed by two area brewers.


The festival’s website explains, “We’re asking participating breweries to release their variant of Court Shoes Only the week of February 1st, ahead of Super Bowl weekend. Proceeds donated from sales of Court Shoes Only will benefit ACEing Autism Charlotte programs.”

They say one of the goals is to sustain those programs in the community.

Nils Weldy, the festival’s founder, also serves as regional director for ACEing Autism, which has 80 locations throughout the country. He’s happy they’re able to do something to help fundraise, even if it’s out of the ordinary.

He says, “What they’re able to contribute through sales of the beer will certainly make an impact for what our plans are for 2021. I’m just grateful for what they can contribute, given all the circumstances with restrictions and everything they’ve been through this year.”

The breweries have embraced the tennis theme of the new IPA. Weldy says he’s visited them, just to see them volleying in their facilities, pretending to dry-hop with tennis balls, and posing with oversized tennis shoes. He’s excited to see what they each produce.

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Fortunately, tennis makes it easy for people to follow COVID-19 health guidelines, since participants are so far apart in singles matches. That has allowed ACEing Autism to continue to do their important work over the past few months.

Weldy explains, “Tennis is inherently a socially-distanced sport. Through it all, we pulled it off successfully. The kids had a great experience. Programs are still being carried out, and it’s incredible what this brewing community can do for important programs like ACEing Autism.”

A quick scroll through the festival’s Facebook will show you all the fun the breweries are having with the new recipe. They talk about their different takes on it and how happy they are to be helping a good cause.

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Dustin Gatliff, owner and head brewer at Southern Range Brewing Company in Monroe, says, “We are proud to be a part of the Charlotte brewery community, especially when we come together to support an awesome cause. It shows the strength, camaraderie, creativity and passion of such an amazing beer town.”

ACEing Autism says it uses its funding to help kids with autism grow, develop, and benefit from social connections and fitness through affordable tennis programming. These brewers are helping further that cause.

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