Statewide Charity Beer Tour Starts in Stratford

The CT Pour Tour is off and running after a kickoff event at Two Roads Brewing Company in Stratford over the weekend.

Todd Ruggere (right) and fans go over a map of his planned voyage, the CT Pour Tour, which kicked off in Stratford Saturday. Credit: Jason Bagley
Todd Ruggere (right) and fans go over a map of his planned voyage, the CT Pour Tour, which kicked off in Stratford Saturday. Credit: Jason Bagley
Todd Ruggere has a penchant for charity and beer. And for the second time in as many years he’s combining the two.

Over the next nine months, Ruggere hopes to raise thousands of dollars for pediatric cancer research – by having a beer in every city and town in Connecticut.

That’s 169 stops. And stop number one was Saturday at Two Roads Brewing Company in Stratford.

“I wanted to help,” Ruggere, 39, told Stratford Patch at the kickoff event.

The Grafton, Mass. man said it was a commercial depicting children undergoing chemotherapy that spurred on the idea of a beer tour to help kids with cancer.

‘A likeable guy’

“He’s going to raise at least $50,000,” said Brad Hittle of Two Roads, which is sponsoring Ruggere with artwork for the CT Pour Tour.

Hittle said whatever promotional materials a stop on the tour wants designed, his team will do it. And Two Roads has already dressed up Ruggere’s Chevy for the voyage (see photos).

“We have an incredibly good design group,” Hittle said. “These are the things we can do together. Todd’s such a likeable guy but serious; he has the right demeanor to do this.”

What’s more, he’s proven such a thirsty undertaking can be done.

Last year, Ruggere traveled to the 351 cities and towns in his home state of Massachusetts en route to raising $43,000 for the Jimmy Fund.

Wherever the beer takes him

I asked Ruggere, who said he was on his first beer about 2 p.m. (“Today, I have someone driving so I can have a few.”), if other potations are allowed on tour and, if not, does he ever tire of the beverage.

“Beer is just what I drink,” he said. “Beer is what everyone knows. It’s good for hanging out.”

The Mass Beer Tour took 266 days or about nine months, the same amount of time Ruggere expects the Connecticut circuit to take. Over the course of one particularly ambitious three-day period last year, he said he hit 21 stops.

“I was three hours away from home,” said Ruggere, who during non-drinking hours works at a mutual fund company. “I wanted to get as many as possible.”

But the stops aren’t always bars. For towns that lack a local watering hole, the tour sometimes relies on residents to open up their homes to Ruggere, who said he’s already set up house party and barbecue stops for the Connecticut tour.

I asked Ruggere if there were any unusual stops on his Massachusetts tour. He was quick to answer: a nudist colony in Berkshire County. And here’s the photo to prove it.

How the money is raised, where it's going

Ruggere leaves it up to the bar, home or nudist colony to decide how it wants to raise money for his cause. Two Roads donated a dollar of every pint sold from noon to 9 p.m. The Stratford brewery ended up raising about $1,200.

“A lot of bars there are raffles connected with my visit or a cover charge at the door,” Ruggere said.

Proceeds from the CT Pour Tour will benefit the children’s wing at the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven.

Ruggere said he’s still looking for a place to drink in 10 Connecticut towns: Colebrook, Lebanon, Lisbon, North Canaan, Roxbury, Scotland, Sherman, Union, Warren and Weston.

If you can help him out, message Ruggere on Facebook or Twitter or visit the CT Pour Tour website (where you can also check out where he’ll be stopping).

“I depend on people,” Ruggere said. “When someone contacts me and gives me a location, I’m psyched.”
Tmc January 24, 2014 at 07:14 AM
Keep up your posting OW; the laughs you create with your idiotic comments are better than reality TV. ROFL
OpportunistWatch January 24, 2014 at 07:23 AM
Tmc, your anti-semitic attacks on me are not laughable but yes very idiotic. We have a name for you in my language "Goyim" ... GET OUT OF MY BOWL -- FLUSH
Tmc January 26, 2014 at 10:31 AM
Just how many scripts are you on anyway? You have yet to make any sense. Laughs you create are first class tho!
OpportunistWatch January 26, 2014 at 02:53 PM
Tmc, opportunists allow for easy laughs when I point out their Anti-Semitic racist rants. I would rather call your attacks, low class though!. << (no such word as "tho"). Oy Vey
Tmc January 26, 2014 at 04:55 PM
Point them out then; copy and paste exactly the "anti-Semitic racist rants" I have posted here. Go ahead, i'll wait; I don't mind waiting for the lulz you create.


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