We meet the boys behind an exciting new charity pride initiative
Being proud, and beer! Two great things in life! Possibly the two best things in life (apart from salt & vinegar crisps and anal sex of course).
We love it when two great things come together, and that’s what Soren Scharf (left) and Ethan Spibey have done with their new initiative Proud Beer.
They’re raising awareness and helping LGBT organisations, by selling delish beer and then giving the money to charity.
Hey boys! Tell us a bit about Proud Beer. We got them to tell us a bit more about it, and talking mental health, the problem with brand pride sponsorships, and more.
Ethan: Well, it’s the UK’s first queer beer! We were basically bored of people slapping a rainbow flag on something and pretending for a month they care, so we thought we’d do something about it and launch a beer with our community in its heart and soul. And that’s how PROUD was born. It’s more than beer, it’s a way we believe can revolutionise the support for LGBT+ charities and our community.
Soren: And it’s pretty tasty!
And now tell us a bit about yourselves!
E: Well, we’re Ethan and Soren and together we are…. only kidding, we’re a couple and we just have a passion for what we believe the beer can do. I’m Ethan, I work in government affairs in the city and I’ve worked with LGBT+ for a number of years, I run a campaign on gay and bi men donating blood called FreedomToDonate, I also run the LGBT+ network InterComms and sit on the Advisory Board of the Terrence Higgins Trust.
S: And I’m Soren, recently moved down to London and we’ve moved in together. I’m originally from Germany, Hamburg which I guess is where I get my taste for beer!
Sum yourselves up with three words each.
E: Blonde pocket rocket.
S: Vorsprung Durch Technik.
There’s been a lot of debate lately around the concept of Pride and what it means. What do you guys think of it all?
E: Pride is different things to different people, and that’s not to say it can’t be all things to all people. We’ve got to remember the giants on whose shoulders we stand and recognise the progress of how far we’ve come.
S: You’ve also got to remember that there’s no issue with Pride being fun, right? Pride is and should be a celebration but it’s also a protest, it doesn’t have to be an either or.
E: Good! Rightly so brands should come under scrutiny. There’s a lot of people doing really good things, meaningfully and authentically, but we all know there are others jumping on the bandwagon.
S: We think it’s really important people are transparent too. We’re extremely transparent with the people we work with, we want to be an honest and open business which benefits the LGBT+ community in everything we do.
Are gay men happy at the moment?
E: Wow. Big question. I can’t speak for everyone, so I’ll just speak for myself – my boyfriend has just moved down to London and we’re living together and I get to wake up next to him every day, so I’m pretty damn happy to be honest.
S: You’re still cooking tonight, don’t think you’re getting out of it.
What do you think is the most important things the LGBTQ community needs to focus on right now?
E: Mental health. Absolutely. Especially with people on social media showing off a side which perhaps isn’t wholly true. It’s something we talk about as a couple too, it really can get on top of you trying to hold down a day job, this new venture and the other LGBT+ campaigns and initiatives we’re involved with. It’s key to always take some time for yourself.
Why are initiatives like Proud Beer important?
S: We honestly believe we can revolutionise the way we support our LGBT+ community. We know that sounds like a lot but just imagine if bars, restaurants, theatres and venues started stocking PROUD. In our third month of trading, we sent enough money to our charity partners to buy 150 self-test HIV kits and materials for 6 and a half weeks of anti-bullying workshops in schools. We genuinely believe this is the power of PROUD, and we’re not finished at beer…
E: Shhhhhh. Let’s keep a few things between us for now…
For more info on Proud Beer, head to www.proud.beer