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New drink at ETX Brewing Co. to benefit nonprofit East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind | News


Starting Saturday, customers can drink the newest item on the ETX Brewing Co. menu and help out a local nonprofit at the same time.

Blind Ambition, a peach kolsch made with local peaches, is the establishment’s new beverage which will benefit and bring awareness to East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind.

The idea has been in the air since the beginning of the year, said Craig Ellis, community relations administrator at East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind, and it will finally come to life on Saturday at the brewery in downtown Tyler.

Although the business will give a portion of the proceeds to the local nonprofit, Ellis said the goal behind the idea was not only to raise funds but also bring a spotlight to what LFTB offers.

“I thought I could approach them and have them make a special beer for us, and name it ‘Blind Ambition,’ he said. “It would be a fundraiser but more of an awareness campaign for people to know who we are and what we do. To partner with a local well-known business like that just helps us create a bigger platform for us to be able to share with people. We are here in Tyler and we do so many things for the blind impaired people.”

LFTB offers free services that are aimed to empower the blind and assist with transition phases and accessibility.

“The way we do that is through rehabilitation training and education programs to help people that have lost their vision or are going through vision to adapt their life and get their independence and productivity back. If they want to go to school or if they want to go to work, or live independently in their home, we can help them with all those things,” Ellis said.

He also mentioned that part of bringing awareness also comes with educating others of the capability of what a blind individual can do. As someone who is legally blind, he aims to assist with changing the stereotype of the blind.

“We’re not just trying to help blind people that we can help, we’re trying to educate the sighted world on blindness and what a blind person is capable of and not just look at a person as a blind person and to assume they can’t do anything because they’re blind,” he said. “Get to know that person and get to know all about the technology and the things that make it possible nowadays for people to be able to live independently. Just because they are blind, it doesn’t mean that they can’t work or they can do this or that, they can do all those things.”

As a fan of the local business, Ellis feels honored to have ETX Brewing Co. helping to showcase the nonprofit, he said.

“We feel blessed and fortunate to have this partnership,” Ellis said.

Ellis said the nonprofit wanted to partner with a local business and ETX Brewing Co. immediately came to mind.

“I had an idea about a fundraiser using a local business and I knew they were very philanthropic … and I was a fan of their craft beers and going to listen to live music and stuff there. So I kind of knew how they were just from watching them from a far and watching them on Facebook,” he said.

Annie Gilstrap, co-owner of ETX Brewing Co., is looking forward to the launch and said Blind Ambition will be a great seasonal beverage for customers.

She said the German-style beer is made with peaches from Winona Orchards, and the peach taste comes through when drinking it.

“It’s a good light, refreshing beer for a good hot summer June day,” she said.

Gilstrap said Ellis approached her for the partnership and it was an automatic go once they found out more about the local nonprofit.

“We found out more about what they do and how they really help serve the blind members of our community, and it was just another way to bring community awareness and bring everyone together for a good cause,” she said.

She also mentioned that she was unaware of the nonprofit, so as a resident she wants to get the presence of the nonprofit across and let community members know they are in Tyler.

“I’ve lived here for almost 20 years and I didn’t even know who they were or what they were about until they approached us. I can’t be the only person in Tyler that didn’t know that, and there’s such a need for it,” she said. “It’s not just a lifestyle change for that one person but it affects the whole family. Having resources right here in the community to help is just valuable.”

Gilstrap said helping out the community is always a main goal of the business, especially to show gratitude to their supporters.

“We are grateful to have the community that we do, for us it’s all about supporting an incredible cause. To be able to give back to our community in such a way that’s just so visible is so much fun for us and we’re so thankful for that opportunity,” said Will Krafve, special projects manager at ETX Brewing Co.

The beer will be offered for the remainder of the summer.

For more information about the free services of East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind, go to, call (903) 593-3111, or find them on Facebook under East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind Inc.

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