Charity isn't a new concept for Jeff Saunders and wife Kari Smith of Somerset's Bad Apple Brewhouse. Last year, about 80 percent of the microbrewery's proceeds went to the Halifax Nova Scotia Down Syndrome Society.
In late December 2013, Saunders and Smith's lives were deeply changed. Their six-month-old son was diagnosed with Mosaic Down syndrome, a rare form whose prognosis is unpredictable. Once the initial shock abated, fate intervened. Saunders recalled he had purchased and frozen some Mosaic hops, a variety "not common locally," the previous summer.
"We [had always] joked about making a beer to name after our kids," he explains. "We learned a lot more about what Mosaic Down syndrome was and I said, 'I'm gonna make a Mosaic beer.'" With the help of Greg Nash, Mosaic Double IPA was born, with sales benefitting Down syndrome charities.
And it was a hit. Saunders sold or gave away every last bottle, and had to borrow enough to submit to the 2014 Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards. Good thing, too: it won best IPA.
This year, Saunders has even bigger plans: multiple batches, and enough proceeds to pay for any Down syndrome child who wishes to attend Camp Brigadoon this summer. But he's just the man behind the brew kettle.
"I don't want to promote [Mosaic] to toot my own horn," he says. "I want to do it for the kids, to give them an opportunity."
And for Saunders, brewing has always been about others. "I really enjoyed the fact that I could make something that makes people happy," he says. "I'm creating something that people are enjoying, and to me, that's worth more than money."
Mosaic DIPA will be available on tap in Halifax, and in growlers and bottles, by March 21, World Down Syndrome Day.