Portland Greendrinks kicked off its 2024 series of monthly socials Jan. 9 at O’Maine Studios, featuring nonprofit beneficiary Maine Grain Alliance.

“Greendrinks approached me, and it seemed like a fun way to start the New Year,” said Rory Strunk, owner of O’Maine Studios, a video production and event space on Danforth Street in Portland.

The Greendrinks formula is simple: several beverage partners donate a variety of drinks, tickets are $10, and the funds raised go to a different nonprofit each month, with selected nonprofits given $1,000. If Greendrinks has excess funds at the end of the year, each nonprofit gets another mini grant.

“It’s a good place to make connections, and I wouldn’t know about half of these nonprofits without Greendrinks,” said Emmy Irvin of Raymond, who was sipping an IPA by Liquid Riot. With six drink tickets per guest, she said, it’s an opportunity to try beverages she might not order out at a bar.

Maine Grain Alliance was a particularly well-suited selection for a nonprofit beneficiary because several Greendrinks beverage partners – including Blaze Brewing, Banded Brewing, Woodland Farms and Maine Craft Distilling – have used local grains in their products.

“Maine Grain Alliance is an organization of bakers, millers, malters, brewers, seed researchers, conservationists, all working together to inspire and empower people who are building a regional grain economy – a regional food system,” said Executive Director Tristan Noyes, wearing a Maine Craft Pizza T-shirt.


“I was super excited to see the Maine Grain folks,” said Jen Packard of Falmouth. “I eat their bread.”

Several Greendrinkers, including George Goodwin of Portland, had made a “Dry January” resolution and appreciated the non-alcoholic drinks available. “I’m all about the booch,” he said, holding up a cup of Root Wild kombucha.

“I’m not a huge drinker,” said Daniel Price of Portland, who was drinking Woodland Farms’ Ruby non-alcoholic sour beer. “But I know that if I come there will be options.”

Since Portland Greendrinks was founded more than 15 years ago, participants have been told to “bring your own vessel (BYOV).” And they do – everything from traditional German beer steins to jelly jars wearing vest-like cozies. Since the pandemic, however, there’s no cup fee for anyone who shows up empty-handed.

“For this event, we gave out aluminum cups along with some glasses and other compostable cups that were donated by World Centric,” said board president Bailey Auspland-Jones.

Portland Greendrinks events are almost always the second Tuesday of the month, with the next one on Feb. 13 (location to be announced once Greendrinks has its event license), featuring Equality Community Center. For more information, go to portlandgreendrinks.com.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at amyparadysz@gmail.com.

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