Since we opened the doors to our dark hop brewery in 2016, we have placed a strong emphasis on giving back to our community and supporting worthy causes.
Most recently, we launched our monthly community distribution program, committing to raise $500 to $1,000 per month to support at least one community-based cause or philanthropy.
We also promote the month through our social media and blog. For more information and to learn about other ways we actively provide support and give back, visit our Community @ Black Hops page.
This concern also permeates to the actual level of brewing, i.e. making ethical and informed choices about suppliers. Of course, factors such as price and quality also influence our choices. But where possible, we also try to support companies or programs that are
trying to make a difference and give back to the community, whether in Australia or abroad. The Madagascar Project has an excellent track record of supporting those less fortunate and certainly fits the bill.
Project Madagascar is an Australian community-based education assistance and development program based in Toowoomba.
For the past 15 years, since 2004, they have helped the people of the African island nation of Madagascar escape severe poverty and low living standards by providing education and ‘self-help’ life skills programs.
By investing in the future of Madagascar’s children, one of the world’s poorest countries, the Madagascar Project has achieved amazing results in helping to break this cycle of poverty and positively impacting future generations.
Eggnog is a beer that is close to all of our hearts. It is the beer that started the amazing journey that Eddie and I and Goff have taken over the past few years into the world of brewery ownership.
One of the key ingredients in eggnog is the vanilla bean. When we brew a batch of eggnog, we add it to the tank in the form of vanilla bean pod powder (VPP) or VPP spice. We purchase this ingredient directly from the Madagascar Project charity.
Andreas Helwig, one of the driving forces behind the Madagascar Project, developed VPP Spice as a way to dry vanilla pods without losing up to 40% of the crop during fermentation due to the presence of mold.
VPP Spice is created by slowly drying vanilla pods with microwaves,
which act as mold spore killers and molecular agitators, releasing more vanilla flavor in the pods. The pods are reduced to 40% of their curing weight and then ground for storage, which is how it came to us, ready to go into the mixture as part of our eggnog-strength recipe.
How has our support had a positive impact on the Madagascar project?
By purchasing our VPP powder through our chosen suppliers, we actively support the Madagascar Charity Project, which uses sales of VPP powder to fund their ongoing work to help the people of Madagascar. We also produce vanilla beans in a cost effective manner.
We asked Andreas how our support is actively working and being utilized at the grassroots level. Funds raised in Australian dollars typically have 25 times more purchasing power when they
Here are three ways that the money we spend on the purchase of VPP powder is used to support these projects in Madagascar.
Establishing educational bursaries for three students in the province of Itosi so they can attend school
Helping to provide educational projects that form part of the curriculum
Helping to fund school tables and chairs at the beginning of each new grade.
Overall: What has the Madagascar project accomplished so far?
Project Madagascar has raised over $1 million in the last 15 years to fund a range of projects and initiatives to help them achieve their goals.
One of their greatest achievements has been the development of a trilingual (Malagasy, French and English) curriculum that teaches students in all three languages from preschool through grade 12. The curriculum is designed to support educational outcomes in rural areas.
70% of Malagasy students belong to subsistence farming families, which traditionally require students to leave school to plant and harvest.
Two new schools/community learning centers have also been established in the poorest neighborhoods of Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo. About a quarter of the students require daily meal supplements due to the effects of malnutrition.
Prior to the implementation of the new curriculum, most students did not repeat and eventually drop out of school until the fourth grade. Since the implementation of the multilingual program, students participating in
the program have passed at all grade levels at rates well above the national average, and by ninth grade they are quite accomplished multilingual scholars.
By choosing an ethical, socially conscious supplier of vanilla beans, we can both obtain an efficiently produced, high-quality product and change the lives of some of the world’s poorest people at the same time.