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Spotlight: The Story Behind The Tilted Tower, a CraftBeer To End CF

Meet Mike Harrison from New Ontario Brewing Company and Kevin Oschefski from Today’s Best Music kiSS 100.5 radio, both in North Bay, ON, and learn about their fundraising project for Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

Could you please introduce yourself? 

New Ontario Brewing Company: My name is Mike Harrison. I am the Owner/Director and Brewmaster at New Ontario Brewing Company in North Bay, ON. I enjoy fostering leadership within my business and the community as well. I lead this fundraising project with a wonderful team of employees who, together, make sure that our fundraiser is a success. We spare no expense or resource to ensure that each year the business can contribute to helping to find a cure for CF.

KiSS 100.5: My name is Kevin Oschefski.  I am the morning host and program director at Today’s Best Music, KiSS 100.5 in North Bay.

What is your connection to CF?

New Ontario Brewing Company: Cystic fibrosis is a disease that directly affects several members in our community, some of whom we are privileged to know through or prior to this fundraising campaign. Finding a cure is something that we are all passionate about and supporting the cause is a small contribution towards that goal.

KiSS 100.5: Our radio station has had the privilege of being involved with the local CF chapter for a number of years.  During that time, I’ve come to know several of the local families directly affected by CF including the Perron’s, the Corbett’s and more.

What’s your (company’s) involvement with CF Canada (volunteer, donor, event organizer etc.)? 

New Ontario Brewing Company: For the last two years, we have done an annual summer beer release of a coveted seasonal, Blueberry Wheat Ale called the Tilted Tower in collaboration with our local radio host Kevin Oschefski and Kiss FM radio where $0.50 from the sale of each can is donated directly to CF. As well, we donate $1.00 from every pour on tap of this beer to the cause. In addition, for the weekend of its release, our staff donates all of their tips to CF.  In collaboration with KISS FM, we arrange a media release and “live-on-location” blitz in correlation with the release of the beer.

In addition to this, we supply beer to the yearly Nipissing University Shinerama Baseball Tournament event, where proceeds from the event are donated to cystic fibrosis. We supply the product and servers for this event, free of charge, allowing all profits to go directly to CF.

KiSS 100.5: KiSS has been a sponsor of several of the local CF events including: advertising and hosting the annual walk and promoting and performing in the annual zumbathon.  Other partnerships have included a special screening of Five Feet Apart at our local performance centre, allowing our parking lot to be used for selling cupcakes for CF, and also having members of the CF community act as special co-hosts on our morning radio program.

Could you please tell us more about your fundraiser initiative?

New Ontario Brewing Company: This fundraiser is one that all of our staff and management get behind to support. The weeks leading up to it require lots of preparation and everyone works as a team to meet deadlines, all the while continuing their regular daily work tasks. There are never rumblings of disgruntled employees, as everyone is passionate about the opportunity to give-back in such a positive way to our community and the CF community.

KiSS 100.5: The idea came about after hearing about a radio peer named Mike Farwell who works for our Kitchener stations.  He has a family connection to CF, and has made it his personal goal to find a cure.  Part of his campaign is a special beer where proceeds benefit CF.  I loved the initiative, and being a bit of a “beer connoisseur” myself I pitched the idea to my co-workers and a local craft brewer named New Ontario Brewing Company.  Everyone loved the idea. From there we worked with the Rogers brand dept., our lawyers, and of course, the brew masters to make it happen. Three years ago, the very first can of “Tilted Tower Broadcaster’s Ale” rolled off the line.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Every year, the brewery releases the “limited edition” blueberry ale with 50 cents from every can sold donated to the local CF Canada Chapter. Our radio station promotes the beer and sets up and does an on-location broadcast on the first day of sales.  It has been an overwhelming success, both with money raised, and more importantly with increased awareness of the fight to cure CF. 

What has been the greatest highlight of supporting CF Canada for you?

New Ontario Brewing Company: The fact that the community comes out to support this cause is a great representation of what our Northern Community is all about. We enjoy meeting new customers, who might otherwise not purchase a product and the overwhelming support from our existing customers is also heartwarming to see. Meeting those directly affected by CF, or those who know a family member or friend affected, reminds us of why we do this.

KiSS 100.5: Though it has been a great partnership, the true highlight has yet to happen.  That will be the day when we can all come together to raise a glass of “Tilted Tower” and toast the fact that CF now stands for “cure found”.  I am confident that day will come sooner rather than later.   

What will #aworldwithoutCF mean to you (and your company)?

New Ontario Brewing Company: Everyone on our team is passionate about finding a cure for CF. We have all learned so much over the years about the disease and the people it affects. Some of those people we have met in person and their impacts on us are memorable. Everyone has their own story to tell, but what resonates for us all is the strength and courage they possess. It sends shivers down your arms to hear the stories about what they must endure, and it is a life we don’t wish on anyone. A life without CF is a life that everyone deserves.

KiSS 100.5: Radio has afforded me many exciting moments but none will be greater than the day I get to turn on the microphone and announce that a cure has been found.  I suspect I will be an emotional mess with many tears shed that day. It will mean that all the hard work has paid off. But most importantly it will mean that our CF warriors can live their lives to the fullest!

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