A new Ohio brewery collaboration aims to raise awareness and registration numbers among state voters.
The campaign — called Raise a Glass to Democracy — was launched by Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
“It is widely thought that many of the ideas for the American Revolution began in pubs with people getting together and talking about how they didn’t want to be under the oppression of the monarch anymore. The idea of democracy going together with beer drinking is very compatible,” said LaRose during the kick-off event.
“You can have your opinion, state your opinion, you can share it on social media, or you can go to public demonstrations, but unless you register and vote you are missing an important part of the civic process,” he continued.
The concept is this: Rhinegeist has designed an open-source label for participating breweries to download and use. LaRose says the labels, which read “Visit VoteOhio.gov
to register by October 5th," will remind citizens that it's time to get registered to vote.
Currently 8 million of Ohio's 11.5 million citizens are registered to vote.
"We want to be the highest voter registration average in the entire country because we know that democracy thrives when every voice can be heard,” LaRose said.
Based on the data that younger voters are less likely to both vote and register to vote and citing a Harris Poll/Nielsen that says more than half of 21- to 44-year-olds drink craft beer, the goal of the collaboration is to naturally get the "vote" message to young people.
"Ohio’s breweries are such a big part of Ohio’s communities, we’re not just bars and taprooms, we’re also community centers and voting is a great way to emphasize community," said Collin Castore, co-founder of Columbus' Seventh Son Brewing Co. and President of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association during the Raise a Glass to Democracy kick-off.
So far, more than 30 Ohio breweries have signed on to the collaborative campaign. The Every Vote Counts website says to expect beers to be in taprooms and at breweries by September. Rhinegeist says their Every Vote Counts beer will launch in August.
All breweries need to do to participate is ask for the label artwork online. There's no specific beer style or type they need to brew. And it's suggested they donate a portion of beer sale proceeds to charities that support voter registration.
"Our goal for this project is to make it as easy as possible for other breweries to participate. So any beer recipe works — whatever they are inspired to create! That makes it fun for beer drinkers; they can taste and compare each brewery’s take on the project," says Rhinegeist Director of Marketing Tracey Ireland in an email interview. "We’ve got artwork and assets available so they can label whatever they want: 12 oz., 16 oz., bottles or Crowlers."
And it's not just limited to Ohio breweries.
"We think that this is a really big, important idea, so there’s no reason why it can’t go nationwide. We’re happy to help any brewery that wants to get involved, so reach out to us," Ireland says.
To register to vote in Ohio, you can visit voteohio.gov. Have the following handy:
- Your Ohio driver’s license or Ohio identification card number
- Name, date of birth, address and the last four digits of their Social Security number
If you want to vote in the November General Election, you need to register or update your voter registration (which you can also do at the the same voteohio.gov
portal) by Oct. 5, 2020.