And new Marble Falls based Save the World Brewing Co., is definitely putting its money where its malt is.
That’s because the brewery, founded by husband and wife team Dave and Quynh Rathkamp, was created to donate 100 percent of its proceeds to local, national and international charities.
Dave and Quynh are both physicians by trade, but a love of Belgian beers, and a desire to give back, sparked the idea for the brewery.
The project has been around five years in the making. Since moving from the Dallas area to Marble Falls, David has retired from medicine and dedicated himself to getting the brewery off the ground. Quynh still works as a doctor, as David puts it, keeping the lights on.
As the brewery has come together, there hasn’t been any question about what styles of beers they would brew.
“My first passion was Belgians,” Dave said, in a recent interview with Bitch Beer. “Then I wanted to brew all kinds of styles of beers, but I eventually came back to Belgians. Like all homebrewers I dreamed about starting my own brewery.”
But it’s one thing to go from being a passionate homebrewer to starting your own full fledged production brewery.
“Being doctors, education was always paramount,” Dave said.
For Quynh, this meant becoming a Cicerone, making her a real asset when it comes to sensory analysis of Save the World’s beers.
For David, this meant enrolling in brewing school at the American Brewers Guild. It was there that he met Alex Payson, who was working for a philanthropic coffee company at the time, but was looking to set his sights on beer. The lure of coming to brew with Dave at a philanthropic brewery brought Payson from New England to Texas.
For a hands on education, Dave also did an internship at a pretty venerable brewery you may have heard of—The Lost Abbey, and the brewery’s influence on Save the World’s beers is definitely evident.
“They [The Lost Abbey] were fantastic,” he said. “I learned a lot. They let me do anything I wanted to do, and learn anything I wanted to learn. That’s where I learned how to bottle condition, and how to do it right.”
As such, Save the World has launched with three bottle conditioned Belgian styles, Humilus filius, a belgian style pale ale, Froctum Bonum saison, and Lux Mundi, a patersbier that was inspired by the Rathkamp’s travels in Belgium. Dave modeled the beer after the patersbier brewed at Chimay, which is only available at the brewery itself, and is the drink of choice for the monks.
“It’s got a little more of a hop profile than your typical Belgian beers that you think about,” Dave said. “Not in a grapefruity American hop kind of way, but just in a little more of a bitterness. So that’s actually our hoppiest beer, but when you smell it you still get your fruit esters.”
Beers on the horizon for Save the World include a wit, a tripel, a quad and a Bière de Garde, as well as some future experimentation with Brettanomyces and barrel aging.
Save the World plans to build out their taproom and open for tours in the near future, thanks to a recent petition effort and city ruling that will now allow them to sell beer onsite.
“So now we’re in the second phase and we’re going to build out our tasting room so we have room for people to come and taste,” Dave said. “We sit on three acres…We’ve got oak trees and picnic benches, so we want people to be able to come out there and watch the sunset and drink the beers.”
Save the World will offer free tours and samples, and sell draft beer for sale by the glass. As of right now, the plan is for the tasting room to be the only location serving Save the World beers on tap, as all other on and off-premise retailers will only be carrying beers by the bottle (currently 22oz, with 750ml releases in the works). The reason for this is threefold, equal parts aimed at drawing people out to the taproom, keeping starting costs low, and maintaining quality control, as Dave is admittedly a control freak when it comes to making sure his beer is transported, stored and served correctly.
“If I bottle condition it, I know it’s going to be pretty stable,” he said. “If you want our beer on draft, come to our brewery!”
As a new brewery, this is something Dave finds particularly vital. While Save the World is still making very minor tweaks to their recipes, it was important for them to launch with beers they felt proud of—beers they hoped would impress customers.
“A lot of people won’t give you a second chance, Dave said. “So you want to give that first good impression.”
While Save the World is set to make a good impression, they’re also doing it with a good conscience. They’ve partnered with three charities to be the beneficiaries of their proceeds, Food for the Hungry on an international level, Meals on Wheels on a domestic level, and Habitat for Humanity Highland Lakes on a local level.
The brewery will be self-sustaining, retaining only enough money from sales to cover its operating costs (ingredients, equipment, a living wage for its handful of employees, etc.) and donating all other funds to its charitable partners. In terms of a donation schedule, since start-up brewery earnings are difficult to forecast, Save the World will donate 10 percent of its gross receipts every month to its partners. Then, at the end of the year, all remaining proceeds left over will be donated to them.
It’s definitely worth mentioning that even with these charitable contributions, Save the World isn’t passing on extra costs to consumers. Their first three 22oz bottle releases are very reasonably priced, selling for $6-7 at most retailers. While the 750 ml bottles of higher ABV beers with longer aging times will be a bit more expensive to account for ingredients and time, Save the World still wants to keep price points reasonable so new customers will be excited to try their beer, and of course, save the world.