Calling All Film and Beer Buffs

Monthly Movies on Tap events offer brews and classic films. And best of all, 99 percent of ticket sales go to a nonprofit.

Like brewing beer, some ideas take time to come together.

Early last year Ryan Kennedy of Premier Wine & Spirits approached Penn Cinema and Out & About Magazine about partnering on a new concept. It was a special 21-and-older event series that soon became known as “Movies on Tap.”

Kennedy’s idea was to bring together a local brewery, brewers and moviegoers for a night of fundraising fun. Since then, each MOT brewery has been tasked with picking a cult or classic film, such as Ghostbusters, The Princess Bride and Pulp Fiction. Before the film starts, guests get to sample many of the featured brewery’s beers and chat with the makers of the beer. Movie costumes, props and movie trivia games are also part of the evening, and an unlimited supply of popcorn is always on hand.

More than one year later, the monthly event is still going strong. And the best part is, 99 percent of the evening’s ticket sales go to a charity or nonprofit of the brewery’s choosing.

As of last month, MOT had raised an impressive $28,270 for more than a dozen charities while attracting more than 1,700 paid attendees. Each event averages about 160. At its current rate, when the 2017 season ends, MOT will have raised a total of almost $50,000.

“When the series started, attendance was low, and we used one of our 100-seat theaters,” says Tom Potter, General Manager at Penn Cinema. “Now we use one of our larger 300-seat theaters. I think people really like the idea of bringing back classic films and drinking beer for a good cause. Ryan and his team really know how to put on an event.”

Fundraising events such as MOT play a crucial role in sustaining the life of nonprofit organizations. One of the organizations that has benefited most from MOT is the Food Bank of Delaware (FBD). So far, three Delaware-based Breweries (Mispillion River, Blue Earl and Dew Point) have chosen to donate ticket sales to the FBD. Together, they have raised more than $4,000.

Says Food Bank’s Larry Hass: “Nonprofits are always in search of creative fundraising events to engage their supporters and attract new friends while having a great time. Movies on Tap represents a partnership between multiple businesses to bring together a diverse group of people to the Riverfront in support of critical nonprofits.”

Ryan Kennedy of Premier Wine & Sprits (far left) and John Hoffman, owner of Dew Point Brewing Company (far right), award a check for $3150 to Mack Wathen and Larry Haas of the Food Bank of Delaware (both center). (Photo Ryan Kennedy, Premier Wine & Spirits)

Ryan Kennedy of Premier Wine & Sprits (far left) and John Hoffman, owner of Dew
Point Brewing Company (far right), award a check for $3150 to Mack Wathen and Larry Haas of the Food Bank of Delaware (both center). (Photo Ryan Kennedy, Premier Wine & Spirits)

Big name breweries like Dogfish Head and Iron Hill have stepped up to show their support. Dogfish Head closed out the 2016 season in December with a premier of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. The evening raised $6,300 for the Nature Society of Delaware.

In April, Iron Hill Brewery used its film of choice as a way to get people to ditch work or class and catch an afternoon showing of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Coupled with an evening showing, the event raised slightly less than $2,000 for Pink Boots Society—an organization that aims to educate and advance the careers of women in the beer industry.

“The best part of the campaign is following up with the charity, meeting them, and doing the check presentation, then telling that story to our attendees on a monthly basis,” says Kennedy. “The money raised goes to everything from hunger programs, education programs for inner-city youth, counseling, cancer research and beyond. It’s amazing what $20 can do for your community if everyone chips in. We are all in this together, so why not support the community we all live, work and play in —while having a little bit of fun?”

This month, Victory Brewing Company, one of the largest and most popular craft breweries in the area, will host the event on Thursday, July 20, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The featured film will be the ‘80s comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Ninety-nine percent of the evening’s ticket sales will benefit the Ronald McDonald House Delaware.

So the next time you’re thinking about heading to the theater to watch the Incredible Hulk smash through a wall, or cry while Ryan Gosling confesses his undying love, why not check out what film is up next for MOT? It may be an old favorite and the charity of the evening may be one that does a lot more for your community than any super hero or heartthrob ever could.

Tickets are just $20 for a flight of beer, unlimited popcorn and, of course, the movie. For more information, check out the events page at facebook.com/PremierWineSpirits.

So, what do you think? Please comment below.