Vail restaurants jump to join Gather ’Round Week for Bonfire
Some of the valley’s best-known restaurants are participating
It took a while to finalize the details of Gather ‘Round Week, but momentum is building quickly.
Soon after the Feb. 1 avalanche near Silverton that took the lives of Eagle residents Seth Bossung, Adam Palmer and Andy Jessen, Cameron Douglas, owner of Vail’s Montauk and El Segundo restaurants, started thinking of ways to help the families of the men. Douglas that week sent an email to seemingly every restaurant owner and general manager in the valley, asking for participation in a weeklong event to donate at least part of the proceeds from the sale of every Bonfire beer to aid those families.
There were a number of hurdles to clear, including supply. In response to the awful news about the longtime valley residents, people started buying Bonfire beer, and lots of it.
Now, with production ramped up, and Bonfire taking the lead on the Gather ‘Round Week effort, that event is set for March 1-7. Almost immediately after the release of a Monday press statement announcing the effort, the email chain lit up.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Sweet Basil and Mountain Standard in Vail are in. So are the Blue Moose Pizza locations in Vail and Beaver Creek. Beaver Creek’s Dusty Boot and Met restaurants are participating, as are the Minturn Saloon and the Grand Hyatt Vail.
Douglas said it’s up to participating restaurants and bars how to participate.
“Whatever you can do,” Douglas said.
At Montauk and El Segundo, Douglas said the restaurants have expanded their Bonfire offerings from just one variety to “two or three.”
What’s important is to buy the beer, Douglas said, adding that his restaurants are “selling the (heck)” out of the beer.
“The best thing for them is increased sales,” he said.
Asked if the brewery could keep up with demand, Doug Fenske, Bonfire’s Mountain Ale Ambassador, had a one-word reply: “Absolutely.”
The brewery has already caught up with demand from local liquor stores.
Josh Pipkin, the beer buyer at Boone’s Wine & Spirits in Eagle, said the store ran out of the brewery’s Firestarter IPA. Now that beer’s back on sale.
Pipkin noted that Boone’s has been Bonfire’s top retailer for some time. Pipkin once worked for the brewery, and he and owner Jeff Moser, along with others at the store, “have an emotional attachment” to the people at Bonfire.
At Beaver Liquors in Avon, Joe Reinhardt said he’d been “ordering more and more” Bonfire since news of the avalanche broke.
“Everybody’s paying homage,” Reinhardt said. “We’re selling bunches and bunches of it.”
Fenske said increased sales have been the norm for the past couple of weeks.
“It’s one of the easiest, better ways to help,” he said.