Some people sell chocolates, some people grow mustaches, some people run marathons, and there are even some people who go from door to door to raise money for their favorite charities. Well, “some people” have never met Todd Ruggere of Grafton, MA. Last year he traveled to every single town in Massachusetts (351 of them) and had a beer there. His hope was to meet some great people, have some great beer, but most importantly raise some money for children’s cancer research.
But, how could he expect the amazing reaction that he would receive from people who were following his journey? They’d give him suggestions of where to have a drink, would invite him over for a beer, and they’d set up amazing events upon his arrival that would help him to raise about $40,000 by the end of his trip. But, he’s not stopping there.
Todd will be visiting every single town, 169 of them, here in Connecticut to bring much needed money to Yale Children’s Hospital. But, because he’s only a little bit familiar with CT, he needs your help and his fans’ help by providing him with your favorite restaurants, watering holes, ideas and suggestions. You can reach him on Twitter via @CTBeerTour, by e-mail, on his Facebook page, and even his soon to launch 169beers.com site.
Now, let’s dig a bit deeper into what makes Todd Ruggere tick:
I always knew there were 351 Towns in MA and one day I tried to list them all. I have lived here my whole life, so I was shocked when I could only come up with 150 of them. I looked at a map and saw all the crazy towns: Florida, Peru, Washington, etc. I was amazed that I had never heard of these towns and decided I would have a beer in each one. It has always been a dream of mine to raise money for cancer, so I meshed the two ideas together.
Yes, many! Once my story got national attention, I was completely overwhelmed by all of the different places that wanted me to have a beer at their establishment. I was contacted by farms, a nudist colony, tons of bars, a cranberry bog owner, and many others. I was overextending myself and had to take a little break. What it really came down to is once I started meeting more and more people with cancer there was no turning back.
The most rewarding experience was town #147, Lunenburg. The bar advertised my stop for a couple months and when I showed up they had banners, giveaways, and raffles. A few people brought their kids with cancer to the restaurant. That was really tough seeing that. We raised $7,000 at that one bar. It was amazing.
Once I finished my tour, a couple beer companies e-mailed me asking if I was going to do it again. My first thought was “no way,” but the more I thought about, I realized my work wasn’t done. I have never been so passionate about anything in my life. I love meeting new people, and just seeing the reactions on people’s faces when they hear that I’m drinking a beer in every town makes it all worth it. I always get, “I wish I thought of that” from people.
I have already made a few trips to Connecticut to scope some places out and get the word out. Last night I went to Eli Cannons in Middletown and it lived up to what everyone said it would be. I think that will be one of my biggest stops. I think everyone that follows my story will show up for that one. I am actually excited to go to the towns that don’t have a bar or restaurant. In Massachusetts there were about 40 towns that don’t have bars. For those towns I would find someone (or they would find me) that lives there and would go over to their house for a beer. They would usually host a cookout in my honor, and most times donate too! It was amazing. Taking a quick scan of the map, the towns of Bozrah, and Bridgewater seem interesting and challenging. Bridgewater is the one dry town in CT.
Wings and beer are the best. I actually had that last night for dinner. I need to broaden my horizons though. I am a very picky eater and usually have dry wings or spicy wings. Peanut butter sounds good, but not sure about jelly!
I like hoppy beers. The hoppier the better.
8. So, MA and soon CT…what state would you like to hit up in 2015?
I was almost committed to having a beer in all 255 VT towns next year, but at the last second I decided that I’d rather do CT. I was very hesitant about Connecticut because I felt like people weren’t really into beer. Boy was I wrong. I cannot believe how many breweries there are in Connecticut. I want to involve every brewery. When I have my Bloomfield beer, I am going to go to Back East and Hooker, when I have my Hartford beer I will go to City Steam. Willibrew, Thimble Island, Two Roads and a few others are already on board.
9. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I just wanted to add 1 more thing that is important. I want people to know that I need their help. I do not know the state that well yet. I do research every day, but the people who live in Connecticut know all the places that I need to go. Usually people are psyched to contact me and give me suggestions.
*All pics from Todd’s website, 351SamAdams.com*