A Clinton Hill brewer who was set to generate gallons in blood donations by giving away pints of his beer as an incentive was snubbed at the last minute by blood bureaucrats who questioned the “taste” of his alcohol-fueled initiative.
For the second time in as many years, the New York Blood Center pulled out of a much-hyped Kelso of Brooklyn blood drive, citing a policy that forbids using “alcohol as a donor incentive.”
“It’s so puritanical,” said Kelly Taylor, the brewmaster who hatched the plan, but now must leave Brooklyn do-gooders high and dry. “It’s not like I’m trading blood for crack.”
The March 4 drive was simple enough: Give a pint of your blood; get a coupon for a pint of Taylor’s craft brew. But that concept was apparently too edgy for honchos at the blood center, who told Taylor in a last-minute phone call on Monday that the exchange is “in bad taste” and “a liability.”
“We have to be careful about what kind of ‘thank-yous’ can be given,” said Jim Fox, a spokesperson for the center. “There’s some sensitivity surrounding alcohol because 25 percent of our donations come from high schools.”
The trouble started during a “blood emergency” two years ago, when Taylor launched the “Beer Helps” promo. The Blood Center signed on, but backed down after a prominent local paper made — gasp! — a joke about how easy it was to get a beer buzz with depleted veins.
Kelly ironed out the kinks by serving juice and cookies instead of alcohol at the event. He put on another successful blood drive in December at the brewery on Waverly Avenue between Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue, so the Blood Center agreed to take part in another drive set for this Friday.
Taylor said he spent hundreds of bucks to spread the word, using promotional events, fliers, social media and appealing to his contacts in the press. But just five days before the event, the Blood Center again pulled the plug.
“It’s so weird,” Taylor said. “Their job is to collect blood — and I’m trying to give them blood.”
Taylor will still use beer to encourage donations, although he might need to get creative, perhaps by riding up, guerrilla-style, to blood bank vans parked at colleges and handing out beer coupons.
“I doubt the people who need blood care if you have a beer afterward,” he said.
Kelso of Brooklyn [529 Waverly Ave. between Waverly Avenue and Fulton Street in Clinton Hill, (718) 398-2731].
©2011 Community News Group
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