Bell’s and Mel’s Charities Ozaukee County Chili Trail

Courtesy of NEWS GRAPHIC

CEDARBURG — Bell’s Brewery, a family-owned craft brewing company with operations in Comstock and Kalamazoo, Mich., launched its first Ozaukee County Chili Trail in January 2021 to support Mel’s Charities.

“After the crazy year we’ve all had we wanted to do something that would drive business to our restaurant partners during January, create a fun community event, and raise some money for Mel’s Charities (and maybe even drink a little beer along the way),” said John Lutz, field sales representative for Bell’s Brewery.

A $20 ticket got participants coupons to redeem for free chili samples at participating restaurants from Jan. 1-31, a custom chili trail bowl and Bell’s swag, along with 75% of each ticket going toward a donation to Mel’s Charities. Each time a coupon for chili was redeemed, participants would be entered into a raffle at each participating location for Bell’s and Mel’s swag.

A total of 17 area restaurants participated and at the conclusion of the event, everyone got to vote for their favorite chili. Almost 100 participants traveled the “chili trail,” helping raise over $1,300 for Mel’s Charities.

The winner for best chili was Lime Cantina of Cedarburg with their Mexican Chicken Chili.

“We all had a blast putting this event on, and we can’t wait for Jan. 2022 when we bring this back bigger and better!” Lutz said. “Thank you to everyone who participated in our inaugural event.”

Above, A sample of the winning chili from Lime Cantina, Mexican Chicken Chili, is shown along with the trophy that went to Lime Cantina. A total of 17 area restaurants participated in the first Ozaukee County Chili Trail. Left, pictured with their winning trophy and the check for $1,300 to Mel’s Charities are, from left, Brad Devorkin, owner of Lime Cantina; John Lutz of Bell’s Brewery; Tom Stanton, Mel’s Charities; and Michele Tietz, owner of Lime Cantina and Tim Schultz, chef at Lime Cantina.

Photos by Mark Justesen/News Graphic staff