Saison de Rose is a Season of Pink Beer, poised for release in time for October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Dominic Capece - in collaboration with his co-partner John Stemler, Free Will brewer David Wood, and four dynamic women from the greater Philadelphia region - orchestrated the guts of the Saison de Rose project. Benefiting the Rena Rowan Breast Center at the Abramson Center at Penn Medicine in Philly, proceeds will be used to support local women through the center’s robust portfolio of services.
This lusty, pink beer is a Belgian-style Saison, crafted with traditional malts, Ruby Red grapefruit, Asian ginger, and pink and black peppercorns. The addition of Hibiscus flowers gives the beer a rose hue, which is capped by a poufy head of white cream.
I asked Dominic Capece to share his thoughts about his role in the world of beer and his involvement in the Saison de Rose Project:
Q. Tell us a little about yourself. What do you do, and what is your role in the world of beer?
A. I formally managed a small family owned contracting company. I've always preferred to be a hands-on manager, working with the crew on every job, partially due to being a perfectionist. In the world of beer, my primary roles at Free Will Brewing are dealing with general finances, bottling operations, and packaging design and inventory.
Q. Dominic, as one of the founders at Free Will Brewing Company, you were quick to take up the baton as a leader in creating this beer. What were your immediate thoughts about this project?
A. My immediate thoughts were, “It's a great idea and cause, but can we pull it all together in time?” In the beer world, projects like this require a lot of communication. It doesn't matter how hard we want to work. That takes time.
Q. You displayed a particular sensitivity when it came to naming this beer. What were your thoughts surrounding the name?
A. My sensitivity to the name was regarding my one stipulation for agreeing to green-light the project. No name or aspect of the project would objectify women or focus on the sexual nature of breast. Breast Cancer is a serious disease that can take someone’s life. I don't think it should be marginalized by focusing on ‘boobs.’ That said, campaigns that use such names to get more attention are fine by me and I would support them; I just didn't want to be a key part of one that did.
Q. Dom, you’re basically the financial-expert in this project. Tell us how you are actually raising these funds. How will the money be tracked?
A. Well over half the cost of the kegs purchased by bars will be going to the charity. They will be invoiced as they would for any other beer. We considered having bars pay just the basic cost of the beer and send in the donation portion themselves; but with the size of the project, time available, and the commitment we've made to the hospital, we felt it easier for all involved to have funds funnel through us and write one large check to the hospital. As we do plan to continue the project next year, we may be able to set up a pledge system so everyone involved can take a tax deduction and we can shelter more of the purchase from sales tax.
Q. How much money do you hope to generate through this project? How did you arrive at this target?
A. Our goal is to raise $10,000. We picked this amount because it's a substantial sum, but given the team we have, very attainable. I prefer to build off of success, rather than failure.
Q. Isn’t Stockertown on-board with Saison de Rose somehow? Would you like to elaborate on that?
A. Stockertown Beverage is our wholesaler for the greater Philly area. They are taking orders and delivering Saison de Rose for no charge or mark-up … all the more that we can commit to the hospital.
Q. It’s PINK. Would a man appreciate this beer?
A. The beer will have a pinkish hue; but its beer. Men will like it.
Q. Can consumers make donations directly to the Rena Rowan Breast Cancer Center in honor of Saison de Rose? How do they do that?
A. Anyone that wishes to contribute to the Rena Rowan Breast Center can write 'Saison de Rose' in the memo field of their check or enter it in the 'in honor of' box on the Penn Hospital online donation page.
Additional donations are encouraged through the Rena Rowan Breast Center website. When making donations by check, write “saison de rose” in the memo field on the check; online, type “saison de rose” in the “In Honor of” box.
Photos: (from top) Dominic Capece in the Free Will Brewery - Photo courtesy of: Matthew Stumpf, Lionize Productions; Dominic accepts the award for the Inquirer Brewvitational 2013 at Opening Tap in Philadelphia.