This past Sunday, REI Co-op released its first-ever collaboration beer. Born from a love of cycling and a shared belief that businesses should make meaningful contributions to society, Rally Cry IPA was brewed in partnership with two of our favorite breweries in the District of Columbia: Atlas Brewworks and DC Brau. It’s a killer beer. And it’s going to help fundamentally reshape recreation and transportation in and around Washington, D.C.
Could a can of beer help create transformative change in a city?
The D.C. region is rich in paved trails dedicated to cycling and pedestrians, but they don’t connect. Several years ago a group of powerful stakeholders—including regional departments of transportation, city governments, the National Park Service and local bike advocates—came together to advance the idea that the time was right to connect these trails into a regional network. Out of those initial meetings, the Capital Trails Coalition was born.
REI Co-op was at the table from the beginning, and we’re so convinced of the potential of this project to create something truly revolutionary that we’ve committed to investing a half million dollars into this work. It’s one of what we call Rewilding Projects: big-vision initiatives in five American cities.
So, what does that have to do with beer?
Our friends at DC Brau and Atlas are kindred spirits to us at the REI Co-op. They love this town and are committed to giving back to the community that sustains their success. As a co-op owned by our members and called in our bylaws to act in their interest, we fundamentally share that point of view. So last year we got to talking with Brandon and Justin—CEOs at DC Brau and Atlas respectively—and started dreaming about doing something big together.
When we described for them the vision that the Capitol Trails Coalition was working towards, they rallied (pun intended) around the idea of brewing a beer for public release which would give 100% of the profits to the Washington Area Bicyclist Association in support of the Coalition. In fact, the brewers were so stoked on the vision that they went up their own supply chain and got their grain suppliers and can manufacturers to donate their product to the effort. REI’s creative team kicked in with design of the can (which we think is pretty damn beautiful). The result is a superb beer with maximum margin going to better biking in the D.C. region.
A great beer for a great cause deserves a great party. Sunday afternoon we released the beer with a bike-themed party for 1,000 people at our D.C. Flagship store. Giveaways, goldsprint races, a DJ, bike repair clinics, and cycling brand reps kept the stoke high. Our good friends at CAVA showed their love with healthy food for the masses (can I get some more of that spicy turmeric sauce on everything, please?). And with cans of cold Rally Cry in hand, #bikeDC turned out strong to celebrate life on two wheels.
Rally Cry is a sessionable 4.7% ABV with a big hop profile and great body, perfect for a post-ride springtime beverage. It is a limited-run beer, with six packs distributed in D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia, so get it at these stores while you still can.
Cheers to better biking!
Photography by Nicholas Karlin.