Save the Black Warrior 2009 Recap

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SweetWater and Black Warrior Riverkeeper Finish 2nd Annual Month-long “Save the Black Warrior” Program

Retailers in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa Raise over $13,000 for River; Vespa Contest Raises Awareness

SweetWater Brewing Company has completed its 2nd annual month-long “Save the Black Warrior” program to raise funds and awareness for Black Warrior Riverkeeper, a non-profit environmental advocacy organization. Throughout September, select bars, restaurants, and grocery stores in the Birmingham and Tuscaloosa areas sold paper fish, t-shirts, and pint glasses to benefit Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s anti-pollution efforts in the Black Warrior River watershed. Mountain High Outfitters donated prizes for bartenders who raised the most money. The program raised over $13,000, nearly twice last year’s amount.

Increasing publicity for the program and the river, Bogart’s Motor Sports donated a Vespa LX150 for the lucky winner of a contest and set up “Save the Black Warrior” displays with actual Vespas at Western Supermarkets in Birmingham and J.D.’s Food Mart in Tuscaloosa. Shannon Raboin, a veterinarian and medical student at Auburn University, won the contest and will pick up his new Vespa from Bogart’s (5350 Grantswood Rd, Birmingham, AL 35210) at noon on Saturday, October 24.

SweetWater Brewing Company, out of Atlanta, GA, runs similar river protection collaborations with three other Waterkeeper Alliance organizations, including French Broad Riverkeeper, Savannah Riverkeeper, and Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. SweetWater also supports renewable energy initiatives. SweetWater’s “Save the Black Warrior” efforts were led by their Alabama Market Manager, Jackie Benzine, and coordinated at participating bars and restaurants by local beer distributors Birmingham Beverage and Supreme Beverage. Western Supermarkets joined the program by selling paper fish at three stores, raising over $1,000.

Birmingham-area bars and restaurants included Area 41 Pizza, Barking Kudu, Blackwell’s Pub, Bottletree, Buffalo Wild Wings (3 locations), Crestwood Coffee, Gable Square Saloon, Garage Café, Jackson’s Bar & Bistro, Jim ‘n Nick’s BBQ, Mafiaoza’s, Mellow Mushroom (2 locations), Metro Bistro, Open Door Café, On Tap (4 locations), Rogue Tavern, Rojo, Smith’s Oysters and Steaks, The J. Clyde, WorkPlay, and Zydeco. Tuscaloosa-area bars and restaurants included Downtown Pub, Houndstooth, Innisfree, Jupiter Bar & Grill, Mellow Mushroom, and Temerson Square Bar. The top Birmingham-area fundraiser was The J. Clyde, followed by Buffalo Wild Wings’ Highway 280 location. The top Tuscaloosa fundraiser was Innisfree, followed by Downtown Pub.

“Save the Black Warrior 2009” included 4 public events co-sponsored by SweetWater. Rollin in the Hay played concert fundraisers on August 27 at Tuscaloosa’s Jupiter Bar and Grill and on September 3 with Earthbound at Birmingham’s Rogue Tavern. On September 4, Smith’s Oyster’s and Steaks of Birmingham promoted “Save the Black Warrior” during their participation in Rock 99.5’s “21 Bars in 21 Days” event. On September 22, Broadway Across America presented the opening night of Grease at the BJCC, starring American Idol winner Taylor Hicks. Supporting Riverkeeper, special tickets to the play also included VIP admission that night to the Grease Cast Party at Rogue Tavern, featuring music by Frankie Velvet & The Mighty Veltones, plus Taylor Hicks.


Black Warrior Riverkeeper is a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect and restore the Black Warrior River and its tributaries. The Alabama Environmental Council’s 2007 Conservation Organization of the Year, and the American Canoe Association’s 2008 Green Paddle Award winner, we are a proud grassroots member of Waterkeeper Alliance. Visit our website at For more information, contact Charles Scribner, Director of Development of Black Warrior Riverkeeper at 205-458-0095, [email protected].

SweetWater Brewing Company, makers of 420 Extra Pale Ale and a host of tasty brews, began its dream of free beer till their dying day in a seedy office park on the west side of Atlanta in 1996. Today, six years into a shiny new brewery in midtown Atlanta as the second largest craft brewer in the Southeast, SweetWater produces four year-round beers: 420 Extra Pale Ale, Blue, IPA, and Georgia Brown, as well as a slew of Catch and Release seasonals, and the Dank Tank series of experimental beers. Tours of the brewery on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 5:30 – 7:30pm and Saturday from 2:30 – 4:30. For more info give us a call at 404-691-ALES or visit

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