Maovember 2016: How We Plan to Mao Down This Year

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Maovember is a month-long charity project that teams restaurants, bars, shops and customers for good causes.The name is a play on Movember, the global campaign that sees men grow mustaches to raise awareness of health issues, with the “mao” referring to the coins worth one tenth of a yuan or about 1.5 cents. The theme is that small donations, and small businesses, can yield big results.

Past campaigns have funded a migrant children’s school library on the outskirts of Beijing via The Library Project. (2013) and cataract surgery for more than 200 elderly men in rural China via Orbis (2014 and 2015). Funds are raised via Maovember pin sales, events such as quizzes, wine tastings and poker, beer pong and corn toss tournaments, and personal donations

Planning for Maovember 2016 is well under way. Here are some of the key details:


1. The 2016 campaign is from October 14 to November 19. The last half of November has been tough in the past due to school fairs, impending holidays and colder weather, thus we have shifted our focus to earlier dates.

2. The 2016 charities are Library Project, our 2013 partner, and Good Works, which trains developmentally challenged late-teen orphans for jobs in the coffee trade. We will identify specific schools and trainees to support over the next few weeks.

3. We expect more events beyond Beijing this year, with Tianjin and Shanghai already on the slate. This makes Library Project a helpful partner, as it funds schools countrywide.

4. We encourage venues to raise funds in two ways. First, by featuring a food / drink special that clearly shows how much money per purchase goes to charity. Second, by featuring a fun event, such as a quiz or sports activity, with an entry fee that goes to charity. This formula has inspired much creativity over the years.

We have contacted last year’s partner venues to see if they plan to participate again. These are the positive responses so far from Arrow Factory, Beer Mania, Boxing Cat, Cafe de la Poste, CHEERS, Home Plate BBQ, Irish Volunteer / Hockey Bar, Jing-A, La Cava, Migas, Paddy O’Shea’s, Pop-Up Beijing and The Tiki Bungalow. We also expect new venue partners this year.

We are now creating the 2016 pin for release on October 14. For venues that want to sell pins, we will have packages of 10 pins for rmb500 (pins sell for rmb50). That donation includes a venue listing on maovember.com and thebeijinger.com, which has offered to create a special Maovember section. More details on pins soon.


The 2016 steering committee includes bar and restaurant reps Paul Rochon (Paddy O’Shea’s) and Zach Lewison (Irish Volunteer), donor reps Steven Schwankert (The Beijinger) and Alex Jennings (education), and Jim Boyce (website and central planning), all returnees from 2015. Everyone involved in Maovember is a volunteer.

If you need more info, or are interested in holding an event or selling pins, please contact us via nihao (at) maovember.com.

Here are some of our pin buyers from 2015!

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Five flashbacks | Memorable Maovember 2015 moments

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By Jim Boyce | Maovember is many things to many people. For me, it’s a long roller coaster ride that includes the lows of rushing to publicize events, worrying about turnout and covering for people at the last minute and the highs of backing a worthy cause, seeing guests have fun, and teaming with creative and committed partners. The highs thankfully easily dominate the lows.

Below I’ve listed five personal moments from last year that make me believe in this project. There are lots more I could cite, from pub quizzes to pool, beer pong, poker and corn toss tournaments to wine and beer events, so expect more “top fives” soon. And I’m sure other people can list their favorite memories, too!

Finally, those who organize Maovember are lucky to have so many people in the food and drink industry willing to do events and so many consumers willing to support those efforts with donations.


CAFE DE LA POSTE

maovember memories 2015 (3)Chinese and French wines tasted blind to raise money for cataract surgeries and thus give people sight. Nice event, Tristan and Justin! It was fun to see people guess what wine hailed from what nation. Bonus points for the mustache-themed backgrounds and the basket-bola game. (Recap here.)


MIGAS

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This is among my favorite Beijing restaurants, so brunch alone made this a worthwhile event. The pouron contest, emceed by chef Aitor, took it to the next level as people performed a series of distance-guzzling challenges with the goal of winning… more wine! Nice touches by Juan and Maria with mustache-shaped cookies at the dessert station and fun promotions. (Recap here.)

maovember memories la cava 2015The “mystery wine party” at La Cava saw a bunch of my favorite distributors sponsor superb bottles that sold for a mere rmb100 each. The catch? Each bottle was gift-wrapped and the label only revealed when bought. The result? People trying and sharing wines and, when finished, buying more. We sold out in an hour. We also held the first “wine flights” paper airplane contest. (Recap here.)


maovember memories 2015 (5)Although a bitterly cold night and hutong location curbed turnout, the Tiki guys deserve full marks for getting into the spirit with a party themed around the classic TV show Magnum P.I. They had everything from a limbo contest to a “get someone lei’d promotion” to 10-kuai rum shots. Bonus points to Maovember supporter Alex for embracing the theme and dressing up as both Zeus and Apollo, the two Dobermans from the show. (Full recap here.)


PADDY O’SHEA’S

maovember memories 2015Someone who embodies the Maovember spirit is manager Paul of Paddy O’Shea’s, who hosted the official closing party last year. Given pollution as nasty as it gets and a weekday slot, we worried about attendance. The mix of road hockey, an open mic night, Two Guys pies, a Jameson pickleback bar and a community that came through in our darkest smoggiest hour made the event a big success. (Full recap here.)

Look for more 2015 flashbacks ahead of this year’s Maovember project!

Recap | Two Guys pies, Jameson picklebacks, road hockey highlight closing party at Paddy O’Shea’s

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The year’s worst stretch of air pollution and a Tuesday night date meant turnout expectations were low for the official Maovember closing party at Paddy O’Shea’s earlier this month. Those expectations were defied as a full house of partiers showed up for a night that included live bands, pies from Two Guys and picklebacks courtesy of a custom-built Jameson bar inside and road hockey with local team The Oilers outside. With the money from the picklebacks and pies and the three-shots-for-rmb50 hockey contest, some rmb4,450 was raised for Maovember.

Maovember 2015 Paddy O'Shea's Closing Party

Recap | Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament at Tim’s

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Tim’s Texas Bar-B-Q held this year’s final Maovember event — let’s call it a ‘hair of the stache’ affair — by hosting a six-hour Texas hold ’em charity tournament. Players each paid rmb500 for a free-flow of drinks, appetizers and barbecue plus the chance to see who best knows how to hold ’em and fold ’em. Halfway through, the top players at each table gathered to decide the winner. Meanwhile, many observers paying rmb500 just to spend an afternoon enjoying beer, mixed drinks, tacos, brisket and more. After the last hand was dealt, some rmb8700 was raised for Maovember.

Maovember 2015 Tim's Texas Bar-B-Q

Recap | Second Annual Maovember Quiz at Q Mex

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Q Mex Bar & Grill brought back it’s brain-teasers by holding a second annual Maovember charity quiz. Like last year, the quiz was bilingual and drew over a dozen teams, with even more money raised via a pool tournament and tequila shots. Due to the efforts of co-owners Stefan Schober and Lucy Li, some rmb1696 was raised for Maovember!

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Recap | Mulled Wine Marathon at CHEERS

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About the time the month-long Maovember campaign starts, the weather starts getting chilly in Beijing, sometimes dropping below zero, and few things help fight off that cold like a piping hot mug of mulled wine. For the third year in a row, the shop chain CHEERS used this popular winter drink to support our mission. In 2013, it served mulled wine from one of it’s Sanlitun stores on the final day of our campaign. In 2014, it upped the effort to two stores over several weekends and added a mulled wine drinking game based on the movie The Big Lebowski. And this year, it took things even further by holding a three-day mulled wine marathon in all 15 shops in Beijing. The result: a whopping rmb10,000 donation to Maovember, with the photo below showing the staff celebrating this achievement with owner Claudia Masueger!

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Recap | France-China Wine Challenge at Cafe de la Poste

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maovember 2015 cafe de la poste french and chinese wine challenge.jpgWine aficionados tested their palates during Maovember when they gathered at Cafe de la Poste to see if they could tell French and Chinese wines apart. Each participant paid rmb100, which was donated to charity, and then blind-tasted four pairs of wine, with each including a French and a Chinese pour. There was plenty of discussion and debate — and general agreement that picking wines with labels unseen is no easy task!

The French wines were donated by Cafe de la Poste while the Chinese wines were donated by East Meets West (Chateau Nine Peaks), Torres China / Everwines (Grace Vineyard), 1421 Wines (1421) and Grape Wall of China (Kanaan).

Adding even more fun to the evening, Cafe de la Poste hosted “Office Basket-Bola“. People paid rmb 5 to write their name on a piece of paper, scrunch it up, and then take a shot at the bucket on the bar’s top shelf. Every shot that went in resulted in a prize of a free shot of booze.

All in all, wine, basket-bola and donations totaled rmb1664.8!