Tips, specialty brew raise $12K for 25 rape kit tests

Jo Kroeker
The Detroit News

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of the eatery Otus Supply in Ferndale. 

For a year and a half, the staff at craft beer store and tap Eight Degrees Plato dumped coin tips in the “bail out fund” jar, and co-owner Tim Costello was tired of tripping over it.

The staff decided the tip money, $1,000 in total, should go to charity; they agreed on Enough SAID, which raises money to test neglected rape kits in Wayne County and hire investigators and prosecutors to seek justice for the “women behind the bar codes.”

Patrons enjoy a drinkable pale ale at Eight Degrees Plato called Enough SAID, brewed to benefit Enough SAID Detroit, a nonprofit organization that raises money to test rape kits in Wayne County.

But $1,000 only funds two rape kits. So instead, the Reluctant Chief Officer of Eight Degrees Plato Christian Salcedo went to Stephen Roginson at Batch Brewing Company with an idea: to brew a collaborative beer and donate the profits to Enough SAID. Roginson agreed before Salcedo even finished asking the question.

A month later, $1,000 in coins had multiplied into 14 kegs of a drinkable pale ale called “Enough SAID.” Next was a matter of selling as much of the beer in one day as possible.

So Salcedo talked to a few yoga instructors he knew, who got Detroit Community Yoga on board to lead a morning yoga class. He walked into Sister Pie and asked if the bakers would provide brunch, and they agreed. The Italian food truck Impasto jumped on board for the afternoon, and so did Aunt Nee’s, famous for its flame-torched nachos. Salcedo asked his musical acquaintances for bands for the night, and four groups — Charles Trees, Market, Little Animal and Real Ghosts — agreed to play.

Salcedo said most knew about the backlog of untested rape kits, which explained why people were willing to help.

On July 15 at 9 a.m. with nine kegs ready to go, it was all hands on deck at Eight Degrees Plato, including former employees eager to volunteer. Sixteen hours, about 1,300 beers and more than 700 transactions later, nine kegs were blown, and between online and in-person donations to the event, $12,397 were raised.

That’s 25 rape kit tests.

“It’s a worthy cause,” Costello said. “That there’s no money in the budget to (test rape kits) sends a signal to people about what we think about women in our society. That’s kind of sad. Anything we can do to make things easier for our moms, our wives, and our daughters and our sisters ...”

So the event sent a different message.

“A great way to encourage elected officials to allocate money for (testing rape kits) is to say, ‘Your constituents have put some skin in the game,’ ” said Peg Tallet, chief community engagement officer of the Michigan Women’s Foundation, who works with Enough SAID Detroit (Sexual Assault in Detroit).

Maggie Steinhauer, the external engagement coordinator for the Michigan Women’s Foundation, projects Detroit will have all of its backlogged kits tested by September, but money is still needed to hire investigators and prosecutors. Once investigators can pursue a case and prosecutors can bring a case to court, these women cease to be anonymous victims labeled by bar codes and become named women in the eyes of the law.

Detroit Community Yoga teachers lead a class for charity at Eight Degrees Plato on July 15. Yogis took a class, had a pint and there was brunch to follow, all to benefit Enough SAID Detroit.

Steinhauer participated in the yoga event and returned for the night of music, remarking that the day drew a different crowd than any other fundraiser in which she’s been involved.

“This is the most fun event we’ve ever had,” Steinhauer said. “There was wall-to-wall people, a huge line for the bar, it was a great atmosphere.”

She was also the lucky employee who helped the folks at Eight Degrees Plato and Batch Brewing concoct the beer.

“We made a very approachable pale ale, so that everybody could drink it,” Costello said. “We didn’t want something that would be real hoppy or real bitter, the idea wasn’t to brew the best beer, but a beer everybody could drink.”

Tallet concurred: “I thought the beer was delicious. I don’t always like micro brews, but I thought they did a great job.”

For those still hoping to get a taste and donate to Enough SAID, Ferndale’s One-Eyed Betty’s, Public House and Otus Supply, as well as Royal Oak’s Ale Mary’s Beer Hall, have kegs, but Salcedo recommends calling ahead to see when it goes on tap. He said the one remaining keg in storage may return to Eight Degrees Plato later.

Salcedo said this was possible because Detroit’s beer scene is personal: Everyone talks to each other and it’s easy to float new ideas.

“It was just a total beer community effort,” Costello said. “I think that’s what craft beer is all about.”

Not just what craft beer is about, but what Detroit is all about, too.

“We don’t ask, we just do,” Costello said. “We see something and we do it. We could wait around for someone to fix it for us, but we’ve been waiting a lot for very little. The situation came up, and we said ‘We can make a difference.’ ”

As for Salcedo, he sees himself doing an event like this again, and he is optimistic the staff has good ideas they are ready to try out.