Can drinking beer at the neighborhood bar help charities?
Apparently so, in England at least. An unusual new survey of nearly 1,500 British pubs showed that the vast majority of them raised money for charities, contributing an average of $3,500 each.
The survey showed 77 percent donated money to charities last year, and 91 percent expected to donate this year.
And we're not talking pull tabs run by charitable gambling groups. Raffles and quiz nights -- yes, quiz nights -- were the most popular fundraising events, followed by live music.
The survey was conducted by CGA Strategy for a trade association called Pub Aid -- www.pubaid.com -- a group formed to spruce up the imagine of drinking establishments.
"This provides further evidence that charity is an important element of the everyday framework of the Great British Pub,'' Pub Aid concludes.
Frank Ball, executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, said he's not surprised that pubs across the pond make charity part of business. Minnesota's bars and taverns also pitch in for community needs, such as donating to baseball teams, hosting celebrations and helping community members in need.
"If someone is sick, it's "Let's have a fundraiser at the bar,'' said Ball.
In Britain, the top causes supported by the pubs were Air Ambulance, Cancer Research UK, the British Legion and Help for Heroes, a nonprofit supporting wounded veterans.
Pub owners said they hold fundraisers to demonstrate support for their communities.
Although there's never been a survey of Minnesota bars, Ball believes the average donation of about $3,500 is roughly the same here.
But there's a big difference between drinking establishments in the UK and Minnesota.
The No. 1 beer in Minnesota is Michelob Light, Ball said. In England, it's a pint of bitter. No survey has yet determined which produces the biggest spike in giving.
Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511