2 local breweries join movement prioritizing mental health

Ottawa County

ALLENDALE, Mich. (WOOD) — A couple of West Michigan breweries are teaming up to shine a light on the mental health of their employees.

Billy Mulligan, a beertender at Trail Point Brewing Co. in Allendale, loves his job.

“This is kind of an escape for me. I get to do another thing that I love — talk about beer, serve beer,” Mulligan said. “Hopefully a keg blows and I get to try beer on the job.”

However, beer was the last thing on the Grand Valley State University student’s mind when Trail Point had to lay off and furlough employees throughout the pandemic.

“We’re trying to balance school with work, which could add another layer. And then the uncertainty of COVID, it was a lot. For some people, it was too much to handle,” Mulligan said.

Trail Point Brewing Co. on April 29, 2021.

The brewing company’s CIO and co-owner Greg Evans says it was just as tough informing employees they didn’t have to show up for work.

“That’s super hard,” Evans said. “We call it the Trail Point family — it’s an extension of our families.”

Recognizing the toll COVID-19 took on Trail Point, the brewery teamed up with The Mitten Brewing Co. to brew a “Things We Don’t Say” IPA to highlight mental health.

The Things We Don’t Say IPA movement is gaining traction nationwide. Wisconsin-based Eagle Park Brewing and Distilling Co. created the recipe for the IPA.

“As of right now, almost 200 breweries in five different countries,” Evans said. “We definitely want to be a part of that.”

Cans of Things We Don’t Say IPA beer, which promotes mental health awareness. (Courtesy)

Proceeds from the sales of the Things We Don’t Say IPA brewed at Trail Point and The Mitten will go toward funding mental health services for employees at both breweries.

“I love this idea, not a lot of people can come out and say how they feel about everything,” said Douglas Schmidt, a manager and beertender at Trail Point.

The counseling services will be offered by The Well Being in Grand Rapids.

“It’s cool when people get together and what can happen,” Evans said. “Mental (and) physical health are so important.”

The Things We Don’t Say IPA will be available at Trail Point and The Mitten in May.

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