Local breweries gather to raise funds for owners of brewery destroyed by fire

POMONA, IL (KFVS) - Two days after a brewery burned down in southern Illinois, a widespread fund raising effort is being launched from what some may consider an unlikely place.

Tucked away in the Shawnee hills that roll across southern Illinois, locally grown wines and hand-crafted beers are common.

"I think that those relationships are what really allowed us to succeed in this region" said Karen Orlandini of Orlandini Winery on Friday. "We all work together."

"There's a lot of camaraderie between all of the breweries here," said Big Muddy Brewery owner Chuck Stuhrenberg. "and we all know how hard we have to work to make a living at it, so it's almost  like a brotherhood between us"

Wednesday, tragedy struck at Abbey Ridge brewery in Pomona, reducing a family's life work to rubble.

"It's just very sad to see one segment of that population struggling," said wine enthusiast Ramona Hatch at Orlandini's on Friday. "We come out here very frequently, and it's a very tight-knit community."

"A lot of people do think we are in competition, and to a degree, we are… of course." Saud Orlandini. "But it's the neighbor next door that brings people to the trail that has them going out to visit you as well."

Now, seven area businesses have pledged to band together, donating proceeds from weekend-long fundraisers to the effort.

Orlandini's, Big Muddy, as well as  Von Jakob VineyardDry Ground Brewing CompanyScratch Brewing CompanySt. Nicholas Brewing Company, Pat's BBQ and catering, and Brews Brothers Taproom have planned a joint fundraising effort for Abbey Ridge.

Owners of a few businesses involved say the money will go to help out employees of the brewery, who are displaced until the brewery finishes rebuilding.

Big Muddy instigated the effort, and will donate one dollar per pint sold this weekend, while the winery will donate one dollar per glass of wine.

The fundraiser also attracted music groups to donate their time this weekend to the fundraisers, and they'll be playing at some of the locations involved.

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