Beer Auction Brings $600 Windfall for Westminster Food Pantry
WESTMINSTER -- When Brian Vincent, owner of Vincent’s Country Store, received his “Holiday 96er,” a limited edition box of craft beers from Wachusett Brewing Company, he decided to do something different. Instead of simply selling the item for the suggested retail price of $150, he chose, in the giving spirit of the holiday season, to put the beer box up for auction and donate the money to a local charity.
“I thought rather than just sell it to the first guy who came in, and not give anyone else a chance, why not auction it off and make it available to whoever has the biggest checkbook?” Vincent said. The proceeds of the auction would go to the Westminster Community Food Pantry, Vincent decided.
A bidding war for the rare item -- which included ales with names such as Brewin’ Pale Ale, Bella Czech Pils, and Green Monsta IPA -- began, with a winning bid of $300 offered by Bruce Jenks, owner of Maple Valley Creamery in Hadley. But Jenks, who had been selling his ice cream through Vincent’s Country Store for years, was also in a giving mood. Noting that neither he nor his cows drank alcohol, he told Vincent to put the beer back up for auction and donate his $300 bid to the food pantry.
“We like to support the communities in which our ice cream is sold, and this was a great opportunity to do that,” Jenks said.
And so again the “Holiday 96er” was offered to the highest bidder, and again the bidding quickly became aggressive. This time the winning bid, which also just happened to be $300, was offered by Steve Donahue Jr. of Gardner, who said he was pleased to be taking part in such a worthy effort.
“The money is going to the food pantry, which is keeping the money in town and taking care of our locals -- and the beer is a plus,” Donahue said.
Vincent said it was incredible that the auction raised $600 for the food pantry.
“This is a great town to live in,” Vincent said. “Westminster residents are very generous, and when you know the money is going toward such a great cause, the beer is just the icing on the cake.”
The name 96er, by the way, is a joking reference to an eating challenge faced by John Candy in the 1988 movie, “The Great Outdoors.”
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