Max Oswald in his Saratoga Brewing tap room. Photo by Larry Goodwin.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Max Oswald said this week that his dedication to producing quality beer is matched by his penchant for giving back to the community. The holidays provide ample opportunity for him to make the best of both worlds through a program called “Toys for Toga.”
Either cash or new, unwrapped toys can be donated at participating businesses for the annual charity drive. It brought in 3,000 toys and $10,000 last year, according to Oswald, the owner of Saratoga Brewing Company on Excelsior Avenue.
“That, to me, shows the depth of support in town,” he said. “That’s always been our thing.” The proceeds directly support programs at the Franklin Community Center, CAPTAIN Youth and Family Services and the Mechanicville Area Community Center.
Local bars and restaurants display a cardboard box with the Toys for Toga logo, and for every donation they place small cards that say “helping kids in our community.” Those who wish to donate also can purchase Toys for Toga mugs from Saratoga Brewing.
On Tuesday, Oswald was joined in his on-site tap room by a lively group of people including Talia Cass of the city’s Convention and Tourism Bureau, as well as MacKenzie Zarzycki and other staff members of DeCrescente Distributing in Mechanicville.
They had gathered to announce an early start of the Toys for Toga drive as a means to finalize the process before Christmas. There were two other “surprises,” Oswald said.
He hopes a “Warehouse Roller Disco” event that is being organized from 2 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2 will boost contributions to the Toys for Toga drive this year (see flyer in photo gallery). It will include live music by the North and South Dakotas and roller skating in the Saratoga Brewing warehouse. He said Tap Room Manager Meg Thompson devised the idea after finding a company that rents skates.
Oswald also reached an agreement with a city candy shop to produce a new beer called Peppermint Pig Stout, whose sales in local establishments would further direct attention to the Toys for Toga charity. The flavor will be available from Friday, Dec. 1 until supplies last, according to Oswald.
For more information, visit the website https://www.oldesaratogabrew.com/.