On February 24, Russian military forces began a large-scale invasion of Ukraine. Three days after that, Pravda, a Ukrainian Brewery in Lviv, Ukraine, stopped making beer and started brewing Molotov cocktails.
“It’s very much a now or never moment,” Yuri Zastavny, the owner of Pravda (“Truth”) Brewery, told WBUR.
In addition to the “truth cocktails,” the brewery started to produce spiked chains for roadblocks—and the 25-person staff is undergoing military and medical training.
“The Russian army is not actually fighting the Ukrainian army only. It’s fighting every Ukrainian, it’s fighting every old woman in a village, every IT person, every brewer, ever baker, every engineer. Everyone is doing something he or she can do to win this war. And we will,” said Zastavny.
A request to brewers around the world
While Pravda was focusing on the war effort, it did not forget brewing. On March 4, the brewery announced on Facebook that it was making the recipes for its beers available to brewers around the world. The request? Donate money from sales of the beers to a relief fund supporting Ukraine. Earlier in the month, the brewery announced that contributions to the fund had already topped $125,000.
According to Tasting Table, Pravda is offering up recipes for five of its beers. A Belgian tripel, an American red ale, a Belgian witbier, a Ukrainian imperial stout, and a dry-hopped ale named Putin Huylo. If you’re wondering about the name of that last beer, huylo is both a Ukrainian and Russian word. It translates to “dickwad,” “dickhead,” or “prick.”
The response to Pravda’s initiative has been impressive, with hundreds of breweries around the world responding to the call. In the U.S., breweries such as Lakefront in Milwaukee and Jacksonville’s Intuition Ale Works are making their own versions of Pravda’s recipes.
Delaware’s Wilmington Brew Works is brewing imperial Ukrainian stout. Craig Wensell, CEO, head brewer, and veteran was impressed by what the Lviv brewery was doing.
“These brewers are literally putting their necks on the chopping block in order to help their country,” Craig Wensell, CEO and head brewer, told 6 ABC.
Hoping for peace in the future
Zastavny hopes that by the time the beer is ready, the Ukraine will be seeing a better future. That’s why he calls the beers being made around the world, the “victory series.”
“As Lviv prepares for war, brewing is seen as an act of hope. It will take several weeks for the beer to be ready, but we hope that when it’s finished, we will be drinking this beer in a country that has won the war,” Zastavny wrote in a Facebook post.
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