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March 20, 2020
Giving Back: Bonn Place Brewing Co.
“It was southside or bust,” says Sam Masotto, known as “Grand Chancellor” of Bonn Place Brewing. He and Gina (“Co-Chancellor”) had been looking for their next act, after touring the country as the title characters in the play Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding. The tour introduced them to Bethlehem, and the city had what they were looking for: neighborhoods. Proximity to family. And possibility.
Bonn is guided by Sam and Gina’s philosophy of being the change you want to see in the world: be the neighbor you want to have, run the business you want to support. Bonn’s small, session-style English ales have won awards, but the vibe of the brewery—laid back, welcoming, TV-less (“you’d be surprised who befriends each other because there’s no TV,” says Sam) is what built a community. “People were so kind and generous,” says Gina, of how they were welcomed to the SouthSide. “Our customers, staff, they’re our family. These are our people.”
And people have power. After two coworkers came in wearing the exact same shirt for a PA-based brewery completely by chance“Shirt Swap Saturdays” were born. Now, staff will wear shirts from a local business or nonprofit, raising awareness and funds by donating a portion of profits from beer sales. Through Shirt Swap and an ongoing cycle of fundraisers, Bonn has donated to local nonprofits including the Bethlehem Mounted Police Unit, New Bethany Ministries, and the Bethlehem Area Public Library, to name just a few.
“Our customers, staff, they’re our family. These are our people.”
And for the second year in a row, Bonn has supported the local chapter of the Pink Boots Society, a national nonprofit that supports women in the beer industry. A dollar of every sale of Pink Boots Skootch brewed locally by Bonn from Pink Boots hops stays right here to support local women entrepreneurs, through the Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley’s Community Action Committee.
At Bonn, generosity is a part of business as usual. “It’s one more way to give back,” says Sam, “to the community that’s given so much to us.”