The Christmas Ale Club, whose members share a passion for Christmas Ale, recently donated $1,250 in support of Hospice of the Western Reserve’s patients and families. The club raises funds through dinners and golf outings. However, it is their unique “Christmas Ale Crusade” that has enabled the club to grow exponentially over the years. 

“The guy who wrote the 12 Days of Christmas was a slacker.” That comment by Twinsburg’s Jerry Bailey sums up the motto of the Christmas Ale Club, an unofficial group comprised of friends and acquaintances who drink Christmas ale daily for a brief stretch during the holidays. The club socializes with a purpose that helps benefit hospice patients and their loved ones.

“We started about four years ago,” Bailey, who founded the group with fellow Twinsburg resident Mike Panno, said. “A group of friends were getting together the day before Thanksgiving and drinking Great Lakes Christmas Ale [the group’s favorite]. We decided to create the Christmas Ale Club.”

Bailey said instead of celebrating the 12 days of Christmas, “we needed to spread it out.”  Thus began “The Christmas Ale Crusade”— a few friends drinking a Christmas ale and sharing photographic proof every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day.

The club has grown exponentially over the years and now includes members from Chicago, Ontario, Orlando, South Carolina and St. Louis. Members are required to drink their choice of Christmas ale, (any brewery will do,) and post proof via photo, on the club’s Facebook page or twitter. Those who don’t check in must pay a penalty and fine. “We have to have evidence you checked in,” said Panno. The result has been some wildly amusing—and creative—Facebook posts.  The fines started adding up. “We figured someone should benefit from this drinking,” Bailey said.

The group is accepting new members via Facebook, regardless of where he or she lives. But there are rules: “The Christmas Ale has to be approved,” Bailey said, “Don’t try to pass off a Budweiser as a Christmas ale.”