For the third year, ANXO Cidery and Eden Specialty Ciders have teamed up for a national Women’s Month campaign.
What started as a one-off fundraiser in 2018 has become an annual, month-long celebration of women, inclusivity and diversity.
This year, in addition to the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. brand of Planned Parenthood, the fundraiser will support four local Washington, D.C. organizations that support women, girls, and transgender and non-binary individuals.
In addition to a cidery, the ANXO team operates two restaurant and bar locations and a tasting room in Washington, D.C. Eden Specialty Ciders of Vermont crafts unique ciders. They work with local growers and operate their own farm on which they grow more than three dozen apple varieties biodynamically.
We spoke with Rachel Fitz, director of operations for ANXO, about the national Women’s History Month campaign and how operators and others across the country can participate.
Prior to Anxo, Fitz worked in social work and public health. She says that social work has always been one of her passions. The first ANXO fundraiser was held on International Women’s Day and raised $2,600 for Planned Parenthood. Last year, that number jumped to $6,000. This year’s goal is $12,000.
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“More than the money, we had so many people come out who are excited to be a part of it, who had stories they wanted to tell,” says Fitz of the impact the first fundraiser had on her and the ANXO team.
The success of and reaction to the International Women’s Day fundraiser got the team thinking about what they could do to make it bigger.
“Last year was the first time that we did the month-long programming, which the highlight of that to me is only pouring female made and owned beverages,” says Fitz. “Which is just huge for us.”
Considering ANXO maintains 36 draft lines, that’s a lot of exposure for women-owned and women-made ciders, beers and wines on tap. That exposure is part of ANXO and Eden’s national campaign.
In fact, ANXO has nearly two dozen events planned for this month, including a guided calvados tasting. Amrosia Borowski, cider aficionado and bartender, is flying in from Chicago this weekend to taste guests on four women-made or owned calvados: Domaine Dupont, Roger Groult, Avallen, and Domaine Coquerel.
As operators themselves, the ANXO team believes that F&B is an excellent way to reach people. Guests gather, try great food and beverage, learn more about the makers and owners, and feel a sense of community. The elements that drive a great guest experience lend themselves naturally to supporting social causes.
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“I think the most important thing, first of all, is to acknowledge that there's a lot of work to do. When we first tried to do our beverage program, it was challenging to find female makers and that's not because they're not out there, it's because they're not necessarily highlighted in the same way,” says Fitz. “But also, there is not equity within a lot of positions and so women are often just left out, as are other groups.”
The ANXO draft lines do more than highlight women in the beverage world—they’re also the source of donations for four other D.C.-area charitable organizations.
A dollar from every pour of Nevertheless Dry Cider, a collaboration between ANXO and Eden, and Never Doubt Brut IPA, a collaboration between ANXO and Denizens Brewing Co., will be donated to She Should Run, Girls Rock! D.C. (part of the international Girls Rock Camp Alliance), N Street Village, and I Support the Girls. Each organization will be featured for one week during the Women’s History Month campaign and receive the money each pour generates. They’ll also receive support via a month-long raffle, with 100 percent of the proceeds being split among them, along with a $1,000 donation match.
The ANXO team is driven to make this campaign as impactful as possible, so they’re also selling Women’s History Month merchandise. However, they’d really like for operators across the country to embrace Women’s History Month with them.
Operators can host their own Women’s History Month fundraisers; donate $1 per can, bottle or pour of a women-made and/or owned cider, beer, wine or spirit sold at their bar or restaurant; highlight women who run businesses in their communities; and showcase and celebrate the women on their teams. For those who choose to carry ANXO and Eden’s Nevertheless Dry Cider, there’s a call to action for donating to Planned Parenthood on the can.
Fitz is making herself available to help operators and others work out the logistics of joining the national Women’s History Month campaign or participating on other ways. For example, a brewer has donated D.C. United tickets to the ANXO Women’s History Month raffle. Simply email her at [email protected].
ANXO has also set up a website for direct donations to Planned Parenthood’s Metropolitan Washington, D.C. branch, which can be accessed via this link, and people can do the same for the branches in their communities.
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“The collaborative energy that comes out of this is just… It gives me fuel for the rest of the year,” says Fitz. “And it's really inspiring, and I think in a lot of ways just highlights so much of the good in the world that can be hard to find at times.”