Brewing beer is not usually considered a charitable activity, but Danielle and Matt Curtis have found a way to use their hobby to help animals in need.
The husband and wife team started up Brown Jindo Brewing at the end of 2012, and are already struggling to keep up with demand. Grinding and boiling grain and putting it through a wort chiller in their tiny studio apartment in Daejeon has its challenges, but so far it has received an enthusiastic response from friends and fellow expats.
“We were really anxious about how the beer would come out, and our friends were like, ‘Wow, this is really good!’” Danielle said.
|Matt and Danielle Curtis pose with their 4-year-old dog Pax, who was the inspiration for Brown Jindo Brewing.|
They brew their own blends of wheat beer, lager, amber ale, India pale ale and porter, each with their own personalized name, such as Double Dog Dare You and Pax’s Pale Ale, which is named after their own furry companion.
The Curtises adopted Pax ― a 4-year-old brown jindo cross ― from Asan Shelter, which takes in stray dogs and cats. When they visited the shelter, they were shocked at the conditions in which the animals were kept.
“A lot of the bigger dogs are kept in cages outside without roofing or any other shelter, and the smaller dogs are kept in a barn without walls, so they are exposed to the elements,” Danielle said.
“We adopted our dog Pax in November,” she said. “So that’s when we got the idea: How about we make beer and people can just donate to our cause ― whatever they feel like donating.”
|Matt Curtis combines the water and grain in a beermaking process called mashing. Altogether, brewing takes about four weeks.|
The couple now plans to volunteer at the Asan Shelter twice a month, cleaning out cages, walking dogs and grooming the animals. Once the hard work is over, they hand around their beer to the group of volunteers, celebrating their work and helping raise funds for animals in need.
During their first visit on Jan. 12, they raised 200,000 won, which they donated to rescue shelters with the aid of Animal Rescue Korea, a community group that helps find animals loving homes.
“We realized we had a lot of (beer), and we knew we wanted to give some of it back to the community,” Danielle explained. “Since we don’t have a lot of time to volunteer ourselves, giving beer will be our donation.”
There are over 2 million pet dogs in Korea, but few are adopted from animal rescue centers. Overall, the Asian region has the lowest animal rescue adoption rate in the world, with only 2.3 percent of pets being adopted from rescue centers, according to a 2008 World Society for the Protection of Animals report.
Danielle attributes this to a lack of a long-standing system in countries such as Korea, where the idea of keeping pets is still relatively new.
Animal Rescue Korea is trying to help change this, providing English-language services to assist expats in adopting a rescue dog or cat or volunteering in an animal shelter. The group also encourages people to donate to rescue shelters for animals in need of vaccinations, shelter and food. To find out more or to donate, go to their website: www.animalrescuekorea.org.
Changes to Korea’s Animal Protection Act, which took effect on Jan. 1, require all dog owners to register their dogs by the time they are 3 months old. The move is designed to curb the number of dogs which go missing or are abandoned each year.
To find out more about the brewing process or to order beer, visit the Brown Jindo Brewing website at brownjindobrewing.wordpress.com/our-brews.
By Lara Pearce (email@example.com