Pride Lives Here beer

From left, Thunder Pride Association chairman Jason Veltri, Sleeping Giant Brewing Company general manager Kevin Brewer and Borderland Pride representative Douglas Judson were on hand at the Sleeping Giant Brewery on Wednesday to launch the new Pride Lives Here beer.

Kegs are ready to be tapped for a new Pride Lives Here beer that will be sold to support the Thunder Pride Association and Borderland Pride campaigns of of the same name.

“It won’t last long,” says Kevin Brewer, general manager of the Sleeping Giant Brewing Company. “My guess is it will last 10 days. By this time next week, I think it will be gone.”

The beer is a dry-hopped kettle sour and is a first for the brewing company in sour beer varieties.

“It’s something new and unique for us and we kind of been saving it for a special occasion — and this works out well for what we are trying to do here,” he said. “It requires a lot of work. It’s a two-day brew which is a lot of man hours.”

Brewer says the Pride Lives Here campaign is “so cool” and it helps to build the community.

“So I thought attaching that (to the beer), was a no-brainer,” he said.

“It’s been a long time coming,” says Jason Veltri, chairman of the Thunder Pride Association.

Veltri started talking with the local brewing company in January but “COVID kind of derailed a lot of that discussion.”

There was plenty of uncertainty around the COVID-19 restrictions and Veltri wondered about the brewery’s capacity to create something new in a pandemic. But the brewing company came through just in time for the annual Pride festivities.

“We had a lot of things planned this year, not just the beer. But this is the one thing that survived COVID,” said Brewer. “We do a lot of things with our beer but as far as the messaging, I think it will be a home run in delivering the message to the community with this beer.”

The beer is available at Sleeping Giant Brewing and will also be available in Fort Frances and in some local restaurants.

“It’s really exciting that we are doing something that has lacked in years prior, about working together and coming together as Pride organizations across the Northwest,” said Veltri. “COVID-19 has really proven that you can come together, not just as a community in Thunder Bay but across the Northwest spectrum. I’m just so delighted to be a part of it and watch our community strive.”

Meanwhile Pride month festivities are almost done and there are about four events still left. Veltri says there were about 25 events held over the 30 days.

“It’s really been incredible to see our community come together, not just with the Pride Lives Here campaign but taking part in the events virtually,” he said. “Doing something new, you never know what to expect and the virtual events have gone off without a hitch. And people have been taking part in them, which is fantastic.”

Teams of three or four kings and queens will head out again this Saturday for a drive-by drag show. Performers will give a show at Fort William First Nation, but admittance into the community is restricted due to COVID-19.

(This story was originally published on June 25, 2020)

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