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From left: Little Thistle head brewer and co-owner Steve Finnie, Thesis Beer Project head brewer and co-owner Adam Frederickson, Thesis assistant brewer Nick Strenke. Above: Little Thistle assistant brewer Nick Novotny.

Two Rochester breweries are helping keep the cash flowing for local musicians. Little Thistle Brewing Co. and Thesis Beer Project teamed up with the Rochester Thaw music festival to brew a festival-themed beer -- “It’s the Thaw-t that Counts.” However, the second year of the festival, scheduled for March 21, was called off as part of state-wide efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.

That left the breweries and the festival with seven barrels -- about 220 gallons -- of beer, and several performers without a gig.

Currently, the breweries are able to sell the brew and will donate a portion of the sales to a GoFundMe campaign Thaw organizers established to support local, full-time musicians.

“Once all this stuff started and businesses and restaurants were shutting down, and shows and festivals were getting cancelled, there were artists and people saying their income is basically gone,” said Nick Novotny, festival founder and organizer. The Rochester Downtown Alliance, which granted $2,150 to the festival, is allowing remaining grant funding to go toward the fundraiser.

“We’re just looking to get back to square one again for next year,” Novotny said. “We’re not going to completely drain the bank.”

Some organizations that help artists with emergency funding such as Springboard for the Arts are seeing their resources stretched thin. Novotny said keeping this fundraiser narrowed to Rochester musicians will help funds go further for those who need it.

“We’re trying to keep it specific to Rochester,” he said. “We have a handful of full-time musicians here and we want to help support them and keep them here.”

Novotny said he’s still working to set up an application process for musicians to access the funds. However, he said applicants will be vetted.

“We’re looking at supporting anybody whose entire income is based on playing music so they can keep doing that here when this is over,” he said.

People can donate directly to the GoFundMe campaign or buy a crowler of “It’s the Thaw-t that Counts” at Little Thistle.

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General Assignment Reporter

John joined the Post Bulletin in May 2018. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 2004 with degrees in Journalism and Japanese. Away from the office, John plays banjo, brews beer, bikes and is looking for other hobbies that begin with the letter “b.”