With new beer, Squatters toasts Utah’s refugees
Limited-supply Tempest-Tost Wit aims to send a powerful message
Squatters Craft Beers is raising a glass to refugees and immigrants.
On Wednesday, the brewery released a new limited-supply Middle East-inspired beer called Tempest-Tost Wit. Made with ingredients common to some of the countries singled out in President Trump’s controversial travel ban, such as green cardamom and sweet orange peel, the beer is a show of support for Utah’s refugee and immigrant populations. All proceeds from the beer will go to the Utah chapter of the International Rescue Committee, an organization dedicated to helping refugees lead successful lives.
Tempest-Tost Wit will be sold at all Squatters and Wasatch Brewery locations (the breweries are operated under a parent organization called Salt Lake Brewing Co.), including those in Park City, while supplies last.
Jason Stock, Squatters’ brewmaster, said that, as soon as Rick Vosepka, a server at Wasatch Brewery’s Sugar House location, presented the idea for the beer, everyone quickly got on board because it speaks to the values Squatters holds dear.
The beer was initially aimed primarily at supporting the countries included in Trump’s travel ban — which has since been blocked by the courts — but the goal now is for it to represent all refugees or immigrants who feel threatened or unwelcome in today’s political climate, Stock said. And it may not be the last beer Squatters launches to support a cause during Trump’s administration.
“Things have been changing so quickly with this presidency, so we didn’t know the ban was going to get stopped by the courts,” he said. “So at first, it was really focusing on these seven countries. And then we came to realize it appears things are going to change very quickly with this administration, and there will be something new for us to pump out every other week it feels like.”
Natalie El-Deiry, deputy director of the International Rescue Committee’s branch in Salt Lake City, said it’s more critical now than ever to have support from prominent businesses in the community like Squatters. The brewery, which is respected in the beer world, has a large local following and the power to help influence the conversation surrounding refugees and immigrants.
“This really sends a powerful message to our community about welcoming refugees and immigrants here,” she said. “… All of us being immigrants and refugees to this country is what our country is founded on. Those are the core principles of who we are as Americans. And I think this action and power that Squatters has put behind it really speaks to that.
“A lot of the refugees and immigrants in our community are critical players to our economy, to our education systems, to our community overall,” she added. “So it’s really important that people like Squatters continue to share their voice and use the tools and talents they have to send that message.”
Lauren Boyack, a Squatters spokeswoman, said many among the brewery’s staff have been eager to release the beer. But the brewery’s customers have also gotten behind the effort, expressing support for the idea over social media. Boyack expected them to come out in droves to get a taste.
“We have a great customer base that’s always excited to try something new and inventive that Jason has come up with,” she said. “But the vast majority of our customers are like minded when it comes to this administration and this executive order, in particular, so they’re excited to give back in a small way. Drinking beer is a pretty great way to give to charity.”
The beer’s name was inspired by the poem “The New Colossus,” which is emblazoned on a plaque within the base of the Statue of Liberty. It reads, in part, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Stock said Doug Hofeling, the brewery’s chief operating officer, came up with the name, and it immediately stuck. The name, coupled with the flavor of the unique ingredients used to brew the beer, evokes the message Squatters is trying to send.
“We could have just done an amber ale and called it Amber Waves of Grain or something like that,” he said. “That would have kept the same concept. But because of Rich’s idea, that got it into our heads to try to play around with those ingredients.”
For more information about the International Rescue Committee, visit rescue.org/slc.
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