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As fans of Heady Topper panicked with the news that The Alchemist Brewery retail store was closing and moving to a new location and they would not be able to buy the beer by the case until the new retail location opens, one local businessman, Troy Kingsbury of Village Grocery, put on his thinking cap to see how he might make the best of the situation.
First, he got in touch with the owners of The Alchemist and secured a deal for his store to get 50 cases of the double IPA each week for four weeks. He imposed a one-case-per-person limit to purchase Heady Topper at Village Grocery. For each case Village Grocery sells, Kingsbury donates $10 to the Vermont Foodbank and The Alchemist Brewery (home of Heady Topper) donates $10 to the foodbank. So each week, for four weeks, $1,000 will be contributed to the Vermont Foodbank.
As if that story weren't good enough – Kingsbury, noticing that people showed up early waiting for the Heady Topper truck last week (the first week of the case sale), decided to capitalize on the fact that people from near and far were milling around Bridge Street waiting to buy a case of the beer. (By the way, the 50 cases of beer sold out in two hours last week – once they got there.)
Because there's a range of time that the beer truck might come, people could be waiting for anywhere from one to three hours. Kingsbury decided to create a contest that would not just get people to Waitsfield but would get them to peruse local shops while they wait.
The first 10 people who show up on Tuesday can pre-buy their case so they can check out the local shops, but then, Kingsbury took two of his Thunder Road race trophies and gave them to nearby merchants to hide anywhere in their stores.
The first 10 people with pre-purchased cases are encouraged to shop the local stores and see if they can find a trophy and the right to buy a second case.
And all who show up in advance of the beer truck are encouraged to check out the shops and try to find the Thunder Road trophies as well – because finding a trophy guarantees that person the right to buy a case of beer as well.
What a great combination of business acumen, community spirit and generosity towards the Vermont Foodbank.
Kudos to Kingsbury for always thinking about helping and about his fellow businesses and how to use the hoopla over Heady Topper for the best.