Betty White’s death at the age of 99 shocked and saddened her millions of fans around the world. For patrons at a bar in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, the loss likely felt a little more personal. Customers at the Commerce Street Brewery Hotel had pre-paid for dozens of drinks for White, hoping that one day she’d come to town and stop by to enjoy a cold one with the gang.
Locals knew White’s late husband, Allen Ludden, had grown up in Mineral Point and is buried there, and thought that perhaps she would make a visit at some point. Even without a sighting of the “Golden Girls” star or even a hint of a planned visit, residents took pride in their town’s affiliation to the comedy icon.
“Allen Ludden and Betty White is our connection to Hollywood,” Jason Basting, Mayor of Mineral Point told Madison’s WMTV. “For a small town of 2,600 people, it’s pretty neat to have that type of connection. She’s a legend right?”
‘Buy A Friend A Beer’
Mike Zupke, the owner of the town’s Commerce Street Brewery, has been contacted by many media outlets since White’s death on Dec. 31 to talk about the bar’s unique connection to the star. Her name sits proudly at the top of a list displayed in the bar called “Buy A Friend A Beer.” People can come into the bar and buy a $5 brew for a friend, which will be waiting for them to claim the next time they come in.
“I really thought she was going to come in here and drink those beers,” Zupke told the Washington Post. “I believed it sincerely.”
In a photo shared by the bar in 2019 on Facebook, White had 40 beers waiting for her.
Upon the news of her death, Zupke thought the pool of money collected in White’s honor could be used to celebrate town’s most beloved celeb in a better way. Patrons kept buying drinks for White and a movement called “Beers for Betty” began.
Now, anyone can visit a special website set up by the brewery called “Buy Betty White a Beer” and all of the funds raised will be donated to a local animal charity in her name. Animal care and rescue were causes White advocated tirelessly for during her life.
“Once we posted a link for people to buy beers online, the beers/donations have steadily flowed in, from all over the country,” Zupke told NPR.
If you check out the site, you’ll be prompted to chip in $5, $10, $20 or even $50. So far, the fundraiser has more than $560 in donations and the page will remain open until the end of January, when the donation will be made.