Ypsilanti's 734 Brewing honors Rutherford Pool founder with new beer and fundraiser

Ypsilanti's 734 Brewing Company's series of beers – and accompanying fundraisers – honoring local community figures is back with a new pilsner honoring the namesake of Rutherford Pool.

734 kicked the series off in December 2019 with a stout named after local beer blogger Sasha Womble. The plan was to launch a new beer every other month named after a local celebrity, paired with a new exhibition of art at the brewery. However, staff have been unable to stick to the every-other-month schedule, says Hannah Weilnau, community outreach coordinator for 734. The brewery launched a second beer in early 2020, but the program was put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. A third beer launched earlier this year.

"We are hoping to buy new equipment to keep up with demand, and while we're still back to normal a little bit, supply chains are still really backed up," Weilnau says.

She says each beer is intended to bring attention to a lesser-known person or organization doing good work in the community. Brewery staff plan to host some sort of fundraising event for each organization highlighted, as well.

The latest brew in the series, the Rutherford Pilsner, will honor Jesse Rutherford, the now-deceased Ypsilanti City Council member who was instrumental in bringing a community pool to the city's Southside. For the rest of July, half of the money from all brewery membership sales and renewals ($59 per year) will go to the Rutherford Pool to help make family passes and swim lesson scholarships available to local families in need. Staff at 734 will also accept monetary donations of any size to be added to the donation total. 

Rutherford Pool closed completely in summer of 2020 but reopened this year with major renovations to the bathhouse completed.

"I've been wanting to feature Rutherford since we started the community collaboration program," Weilnau says. "I lived at a community pool when I was a kid, and swim lessons meant everything to me. As an adult, I'm inspired by Jesse Rutherford's legacy, wanting to invest in kids and community spaces."

More information about 734's upcoming community collaborations will be available through the brewery's website, Instagram, or Facebook page.

Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.

Photo courtesy of 734 Brewing Company.
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