Thanks to Adrien Widman, former staff member at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Hops For Hope will raise funds on December 3 at his Ocelot Brewing Company at 23600 Overland Drive, just off Route 606, in Dulles. Widman crafted a special brew, Hope Beer, specifically for this benefit.
“I started brewing beer at home as a hobby and I fell in love with the science behind brewing ,” said Widman. “It became an obsession. I would brew every weekend and at night – whenever I got time.”
The idea of establishing his own craft brewery had been fermenting quietly in the back of his mind for some time. It came to a head after he’d been working for NCMEC for more than 6 years.
“It wasn’t an easy decision,” said Widman, who described his job as “jack of all trades”/Cisco engineer. “At the National Center, I got to meet and work with some of the most wonderful people dedicated to working for the betterment of society – just the best people in the world. But I was commuting an hour and a half each way and I had two little kids. One day, I got a call at work – could I come at once? My son had fallen on the playground. I ran to my boss, who said go. I jumped in my car, but it was hurry up and wait – it took two hours to get to my son. What if my family needs me and I can’t get there? That’s when I decided to give craft brewing a shot.”
In 2013, Widman made a business plan and sent it to friends and family for proofreading before he took it to the banks to apply for loans. They responded with corrections and checks, ultimately funding the entire project.
“When I started Ocelot, there were only one or two breweries in the area, now we have many,” said Widman. “What I liked from the start of my involvement is that there is a community behind the whole craft beer scene and everyone is willing to share knowledge for the betterment of beer everywhere.”
Widman kept in touch with the National Center while getting Ocelot up and running. “I always thought that I would give back if I could,” he said. “I worked a lot with John Shehan while I was there. He’s also a craft beer fan, and I asked, “Can I brew a beer for you guys?” He pitched the idea of a fundraiser to everyone else at the center and called back and said, “Let’s do it!” I’m beyond thrilled to brew Hope Beer and hold Hops for Hope at Ocelot.”
Widman enlisted five other craft breweries that will sell Hope Beer to support the National Center’s efforts to bring missing children home safely. Two are located in Purcellville – Belly Love Brewing Co. and Old 690 Brewing Co., with Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn, Tin Cannon Brewery in Gainesville, and The Veil Brewing Co. in Richmond.
Hops for Hope are family events with vendors and food available at each venue. Ocelot Brewery will feature the Buffalo Wing Factory, which will donate a portion of their food sales to NCMEC.
Hops for Hope takes place at Ocelot on Saturday, December 3, where they will be pouring Hope, an Ocelot limited run craft beer, from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. Enthusiasts can purchase 4 ounce samples to pints to 32 and 64 ounces if they want to take home a Growler. Ocelot has its own Growler containers, but will fill clean containers brought by people.
The other five participating breweries will offer Hope Beer and their award-winning brews as well as food trucks, raffles and special guests – for specific details, please visit their websites. John Walsh, NCMEC co-founder and star of CNN’s “The Hunt,” will make an appearance at Ocelot and Old 690. Elliot in the Morning from DC 101 is expected to stop by Ocelot.
“We expect a good crowd and want as many people as possible to come by,” said Widman. “We’ll have vendors, craft t-shirts and maybe a National Center t-shirt — they’re working on it.”
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a 501c3 non-profit founded in 1984 by John and Revé Walsh and other child advocates, will benefit from the Hops for Hope fund-raisers.
“The goal with any event for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is to give people the opportunity to connect with and offer support for our mission,” said John Walsh. “We believe that protecting children is a responsibility that we all share and if we give people the chance to do their part, they will want to help. The National Center could not do the work that it does without support from our partners and friends and we’re always grateful to see new people join the fight to keep kids safe.”
For more information about NCMEC and its special events: http://www.missingkids.org