DecemBEER | The Oast House Advent Calendar
December 9th, 2018
An interview with the team to share an overview of the DecemBEER advent calendar at The Oast House and how we're aiming to support homeless and vulnerable people across Manchester this Christmas...
Q: Tell us about the human-sized advent calendar? Well, advent calendars have become massively popular, making much more of an occasion of advent. People buy them as gifts for loved ones, with lots of fancy treats behind the doors from mini chocolates to candles, through beauty products and even mini bottles of gin or whisky. We wanted to capture this celebration of gifting and sharing, and extend it to those less fortunate this Christmas. To do this, we created a human-sized advent calendar at The Oast House in Spinningfields in Manchester. Every time someone opens the door, they receive a treat for themselves and trigger a charitable donation. It’s a reverse advent, because as well as receiving a prize, visitors are giving something back.
Q: Ok, so how does the calendar work? We’ve themed it ‘DecemBeer’, filling the calendar each day with limited edition brews, and bottles and pints from The Oast House as well as must-have tickets for the likes of Champions League matches and next year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It opens at 12pm for a couple of hours – basically until the door has been opened, again, and again and again until all of the treats run out for that day. People open the door free-of-charge and when they do, they might receive one of the limited-edition beers and then, more importantly, for every time the door is opened, we’ll donate a hot meal to the homeless and vulnerable. In addition, opening the door this week during the first few days of advent has helped generate donations of more traditional advent calendars containing chocolates to families across Manchester, as well as sleeping bags to help homeless people keep warm.
Q: How many hot meals are you hoping to donate? We think we should be able to donate about 50 meals a day throughout advent, which is 1,200 meals in total from the beginning of December until Christmas Eve.
Q: Which charities are you supporting? The meals are donated via Foodinate to Mustard Tree, a charity helping people facing poverty and homelessness in Manchester. Foodinate works with restaurants and bars across the city to donate meals on a regular basis. When people order meals in certain venues, they’ll activate the donation of a meal to someone that needs it. We’ve also partnered with NSTR, an accountancy practice and corporate finance recruitment firm, to donate the sleeping bags to homeless people and donate advent calendars to families via charity Wood Street Mission. Also, beyond the advent calendar, The Oast House is donating £1 from every customer bill in December to Wood Street Mission, which should help generate funding for families living in poverty across Salford and Manchester.
Q: Why did you decide to support the homeless and vulnerable? Food, drink, celebrations and spending time with loved ones have become synonymous with Christmas. You think of the stereotypical scene of a family gathered in the warmth, around the dinner table, carving the turkey. Unfortunately, such celebrations aren’t possible for all people and we were keen to try and help those that are less fortunate. We have a partnership with Foodinate – every time someone buys The Oast House’s Fabulous Fondue, it generates a meal donation for the homeless and vulnerable. It seemed a fitting idea to extend this and generate extra meals during the festive season.
Q: How big is the human-sized advent calendar? It’s 15 foot squared – big enough to fit a couple of people in.
Q: And how many people have visited it since the 1st December? We’ve welcomed around 400 people so far, which is averaging around 50 people per day.
Q: And have you given any of the event tickets and beers? Yes, the calendar has been really popular, and people so far have picked-up beer-filled hampers, a year of beer and even brewery tours to the Camden Town and Freedom breweries. There’s plenty more of exciting prizes and event tickets to come!