Yakima Hop Growers Combine Great Beer with a Great Cause - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Hop Growers Combine Great Beer with a Great Cause

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YAKIMA, Wash.--A Yakima family is combining good beer with a good cause.

It's been a busy year for the Smith's. Opening up Bale Breaker Brewery and now starting a nationwide campaign to raise money for ALS, commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

"It has devastated our family," said Cheryl Hanses-Smith, Owner of Loftus Ranches. "My dad died 25 years of ALS, and many of his siblings have in those 25 years died of ALS."

Cheryl's brother and two other family members currently struggle with the deadly disease, which robs them of their ability to walk, talk and eat on their own.

Their struggles are the impetus behind "Ales for ALS". Thirty-six breweries across the country received a special hop blend free of charge, and they'll use that to create their own unique beer. For every pint they sell, $1 goes to ALS research.

"We expect it's going to raise about $175,000- $200,000 this year," said Mike Smith.

"There's brilliant people working to try to find a cure and what they need is money," said Hanses-Smith. "They need the money to get the drugs to trials and to get the FDA approval."

The family has high hopes for "Ales for ALS," giving the Yakima Valley an opportunity to be the center of a successful movement.

"We'd like to see it grow up to between 400 and 500 breweries around the country," said Smith. "Become a real national campaign, and I guess our family goal is to eventually get to raise a million dollars a year."

Bale Breaker Brewing Company will release their special ale sometime in the next several weeks. They're calling it "Bubba's Brew" in honor of Cheryl's brother.