The Power of Music & Beer: Ellicottville Brewing, Rock Autism Brew Up Fight Against Autism

Chances are you’ve heard the numbers, and they are truly staggering: autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States today. Count Ellicottville Brewing among those who have seen those studies, and they are joining the fight against autism by doing what they do best – brewing beer. The Ellicottville brewery has partnered with local nonprofit Rock Autism, who are striving to raise awareness & acceptance for autism in Western New York by building music and film workshops for youth on the autism spectrum, on Sonnyboi EBC, a New England IPA. Proceeds from sales of the beer will go to benefit Rock Autism, whose objective is for individuals to carve out a career path, spark entrepreneurship and pursue higher education.

Sonnyboi EBC is a 6% New England IPA that features loads of late-addition American Calypso hops for tropical mango, pineapple and citrus aromas and flavors. The beer was named after the anthem of the Rock Autism Music Festival, which Rock Autism founder Max Muscato wrote about his brother Sonny and his struggles with autism.

“Sonnyboi was created through our Innovation 10BBL Series,” Ellicottville Brewing Owner Peter Kreinheder says. “I felt the name suited a golden New England-style cloudy IPA. And with NEIPA’s being as popular in the market, it just made sense.”

Rock Autism Executive Director Alea Conte says that Sonnyboi EBC was born out of a shared vision between the nonprofit and the brewery. Plus, it’s a fun summer beer, so that’s beneficial to pretty much everyone.

“The owner sent beer to our events to help out, introductions were made by one of our board members and after that we ultimately agreed we had the same vision for the Rock Autism cause and wanted it to flourish,” Conte says. “Marc Muscato, father of Max & Sonny and drummer in the band, had the idea. He used to make guitars called SonMax Guitars and wanted to do a beer for years. Together, Max and Marc settled on Sonnyboi, a beer named after Max’s song about his brother. Sonnyboi sounds fun and is the perfect name for a summer festival beer.”

Sonnyboi EBC was brewed to benefit Rock Autism’s major event, [the second annual] Rock Autism Music Festival, which features six bands (The Allman Betts Band, Max Muscato & Outer Harbor – Ft. Sonny Muscato, Handsome Jack, Edalo, J.D Simo, The Space), food (Villaggio, Finnerty’s, Tim & Bonnie’s Pizza and more), drinks and fun activities for the whole family. An estimated two thousand participants are projected for the festival this year with a large portion of autism families in attendance as well. The event will take place in Ellicottville on August 31.

“We select specific worthy causes in cycles. Rock Autism provides opportunity thru music to help autistic kids find purpose and direction,” Kreinheder adds. “Max Muscato and his dad have created a terrific charitable grass roots organization and I wish to support them. The creation of Sonnyboi allowed Buffalo bar and tavern owners to help raise funds for Rock Autism and awareness of its purpose. Thru the Ellicottville Brewing Company Brand we will continue to brew Sonnyboi and financially contribute to the cause.”

Sonnyboi EBC will be on tap at the festival, as well as the brewery, This Little Pig, Frankie Primo’s, Osteria 166, Madigan’s, Finnerty’s (Ellicottville), Villaggio, Allentown Burger Venture, The Eagle House, Creekview, Helium Comedy Club and Town Ballroom, among others. Anyone who would like to carry Sonnyboi EBC can feel free to contact Rock Autism Board Member and Villaggio General Manager Spencer Murray (716-430-8030, spencer@villaggioevl.com).

“This has been a long lasting beneficial relationship for both parties,” Conte adds. “It’s going great and EBC has been a tremendous help to our cause. Sonnyboi EBC has generated a lot of awareness for Rock Autism.”

For more information, to get involved and donate to Rock Autism, please visit https://www.rockautism.org/. For more info on the 2019 Rock Autism Music Festival and to purchase tickets, head to their Facebook page.

Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column for Step Out Buffalo. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at buffalobeerleague@aol.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague) and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).

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