Action. Community. Hospitality. Part 2: The Feel-Good Tap

By Sean Kenniff

By

Sean Kenniff
Brewer Stephen Roginson of Batch Brewing Company
Brewer Stephen Roginson of Batch Brewing Company

Part 2: The Feel-Good Tap

When water, malt, hops, and yeast are combined by a trained hand, it makes people feel good. Stephen Roginson, founder and head brewer of Batch Brewing Company, Detroit’s first nano-brewery, has created a way to exponentially increase that ebullience. After moving to Detroit from the ’burbs, launching a crowdfunding campaign, winning the 2013 Hatch Detroit business incubator contest, and completing a bootstrap build-out, Roginson installed the Feelgood Tap on his brewery’s bar in early 2015. The beer that flows from the taps changes often, but the sentiment and purpose remain the same: a pint pulled from the Feelgood Tap costs $1 to $2 more than the regular price, and at the end of the month all those extra dollars are donated to charity. 

The first recipient of this brewhouse benevolence was the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Michigan Chapter, an organization close to Roginson’s home and heart because his mother has lived with MS since the 80s. What started as an initiative and personal mission has turned into a 501(c)3 nonprofit with at least nine other bars and breweries installing Feelgood Taps.

In 2015, the Feelgood Tap nonprofit generated $27,000 that was dispersed to Michigan state and local charities. Roginson envisions a 100-bar network of Feelgood Taps pulling in upwards of $50,000 a month to support organizations like the Cabrini Clinic (America’s oldest free clinic) and the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation.

Batch recently collaborated with Falling Down Beer Co. in Warren, Michigan. Both breweries sold the “Blood In, Orange Out” Hefeweizen with the tap handle that reads “Feelgood.” “Michigan is an incredibly mature beer market,” says Roginson. “We have the responsibility to make the best beer we can, innovating within and around tradition.”       

Having brewed dozens of beers at Batch, and overseen growth from 300 barrels in 2015 to a projected 1,000 for 2016 (and with expectations to double that in 2017), Roginson has come a long way from brewing in his garage. He may own a flagship-less, new wave brewery, but he also unintentionally created a flagship: Feelgood brew that’s “creating change one glass at a time,” as Roginson says. 

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The Facts:

Business: Batch Brewing Company
City: Detroit
Neighborhood: Corktown
Industry Leader: Joe Roginson
501(c)3: Feelgood Tap
Price of Pint at Batch: $5 to $9 
Feelgood Tap Upcharge: $2 at Batch, $1 at participating bars
Money Raised 2016: $27,000 (at $1 to $2 per beer, that’s A LOT of pints!)
First Beneficiary: MS Society 
Join In: feelgoodtap.org 
Get Inspired: batchbrewingcompany.com

Check back tomorrow for Part 3 of this 5 part series.

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