How it Started
Cheryl Hanses has nine family members who she knows passed of ALS or are currently battling
the disease. Her family has one of the identified mutant genes that causes ALS. Her husband,
Mike Smith, is a third-generation hop farmer in Yakima, WA; his family has been growing hops
since 1932. Cheryl and Mike leveraged their connections within the hop growing and brewing communities to help support their
efforts to raise money for the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI).
In 2013 they piloted Ales for ALS™, a concept where participating breweries would be
offered access to an experimental hop blend, free of charge. In exchange, the breweries
would brew a special beer with these hops and donate a portion of their beer sales to ALS
The pilot worked.
From 33 participating brewers and proceeds totaling $130,000 in their first year, to over
140 participating brewers in 2017, and over $1,750,000 raised to date, the program has
grown each year. “Now breweries across the country hear about the program and they
reach out proactively,” says Mike. “They want to join the effort because they know
someone who has been, or is battling ALS. This disease is not as rare as it's made out to
Cheryl and Mike want to be a part of the solution; they believe strongly that a treatment
and cure will be found at ALS TDI. Read more about Cheryl and Mike here.
Cheryl and Mike Smith visiting the ALS Therapy Development Institute's lab.
Are you a beer-lover? See if your local brewery is serving their unique Ales for ALS™ brew or travel
the country until you've tried them all!