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Local breweries are 'brewing' up mental health awareness this May

Sabbatical Brewing
Posted at 11:00 PM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 06:58:49-04

MANITOWOC (NBC26) — This Mental Health Awareness Month, breweries all over the world are joining the Things We Don’t Say project.

The IPA originated at a Eagle Park Brewing in Milwaukee, coming in a can with mental health hotlines on the label. This month, craft brewers will be able to take the open-source recipe and put their own spin on it. A few local Northeast Wisconsin breweries have joined the project, including newly opened Sabbatical Brewing in Manitowoc.

“Craft culture, cultivate community and break for beer," said owner Will Schneider. "So the liquid's got to be good, but it’s always kind of the afterthought for us.“

Schneider opened Sabbatical barely two months ago, and he and his brother make all the beers on site, rotating every month with up to 24 beers on tap at a time.

“It doesn’t matter who walks in the door," he said. "They can have absolutely nothing in common but the fact that you walked in the door means that you’re looking for one thing, and everybody else that’s in there is looking for the same thing, and that’s a good craft beer.“

Before Schneider began brewing adult beverages, he was helping kids with mental illnesses and special needs.

“It’s unfortunate really that it’s only one month long," said Schneider. "It’s just going to be about being an active listener, being willing to engage in conversation about it and being non-judgmental. Working with people with special needs and mental illnesses, huge passion, but a huge emotional drain. Craft beer kind of is the flipside of that.“

About 12 years ago, Schneider and his wife started ABLE, mentoring local children and young adults.

“Working with Will, it doesn’t feel like work," said Misty Rutherford, Residential Youth Mentor. "It’s really a passion-driven experience.“

Sabbatical's version of the beer will release towards the end of the month; Badger State Brewing in Green Bay and McFleshman's in Appleton will also be brewing their own versions of Things We Don't say.

“Grab a four pack and know that you’re doing something good for the community, good for the country, good for the world," said Schneider.