Follow the trail, drink beer, and benefit non-profits

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Alcohol has been used as a fundraising tool for years, but not like this. The Eau Claire Rotary Club has a new creation that doesn't take you to one place on one day, instead, you get an entire year to visit dozens of establishments, in the name of fundraising.
"Go to the app store or google play, and type in 'Donor Trail'," explains Tom Giles, Chairman of the Chippewa Valley Beer & Wine Trail.

Tom's directions lead you to an app called 'Donor Trail' with a picture of a dog on the front. Download it, and you can load the 'Chippewa Valley Beer & Wine Trail. Then, you can browse the deals offered by participating bars, breweries and wineries. However, before you can use the coupons, you have to purchase the trail, which costs twenty dollars. It might seem expensive, but it pays itself off quickly.

Giles added, "Most of them are offering a buy one beer, get one free, or a buy one wine, get one free."

One of the stops on the trail is Southtowne Pub. When they were approached about the idea, they didn't hesitate.

Sheryl Victoria, Bar Manager, said, "I think there's a lot of opportunities to see different establishments that people don't know exist. There are a lot of new ones, having 27 options to go to; it's kind of a fun activity to be able to do with friends."

Modicum Brewing Owner, Eric Rykal agrees. Rykal said, "We found there are a lot of people that don't know we exist yet, and it's a great opportunity for people to stop in who maybe haven't had the chance to stop in before."

So, while you'll benefit from testing out some of the best spots to get a drink, don't forget, the twenty dollars you paid for the app, go to those who need it.

"The net proceeds from that, go to four charitable causes," Giles said.

Those four causes are the Community Table, Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Rotary International Youth Exchange. You get to choose which organization receives your donation.

Michelle Koehn, Executive Director of the Community Table is thrilled about the partnership. Koehn said, "Given the population of 18-24 year-olds living at or below the poverty level, to be able to buy a beer to support a meal here, you really couldn't ask for a better partnership."

It's a sentiment shared by the other beneficiaries as well.

"We serve 400 children a year, so we have a lot of volunteers, and they have to go through a multi-layered background check. So, these funds will enable us to continue doing it properly and continue to make strong matches that are the best for the children," Teri-Gene Conlin said, Development Director at Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Travis Ida, Chief Operating Officer at the Boys & Girls Club, added, "We're only able to do what we do here at the Boys & Girls Club because of the community, so this is just another avenue for people to get involved."