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New drink at Tyler brewery to benefit East Texas nonprofit organization | Local


TYLER — Starting today, customers can try the newest item on a Tyler brewery’s menu and help an East Texas nonprofit organization at the same time.

Blind Ambition, a peach kolsch made with local peaches, is ETX Brewing Co.’s new beverage, with a portion of proceeds from sales going to East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind.

Craig Ellis, community relations administrator at East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind, said the goal behind the idea not only was to raise funds but to bring a spotlight to what the agency offers.

“I thought I could approach (ETX Brewing Co) 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.”

East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind offers free services across the region, including in Gregg County, to empower blind residents 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,” Ellis said. “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.”

He also said that part of raising awareness is educating others what a blind person is capable of. As someone who is legally blind, Ellis said he aims to help change the stereotype of blind people.

“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 ETX Brewing Co., Ellis feels honored to have the business help to showcase his nonprofit organization, he said.

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

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

She said the German-style beer is made with peaches from Winona Orchards.

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

Gilstrap said Ellis approached her about the partnership, and it was an automatic go once the brewery found out more about East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind.

“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.

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

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

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