SEBC takes part in craft beer project, releases TRI-21 brew

Deb Moldaschel
The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch

Sleepy Eye Brewing Co. releases new brews on a regular basis but last week they released a new beer with extra meaning and impact.

Adam Armbruster, one of five partners in the company, and his wife Karlyn, learned about a worldwide craft beer project to build awareness and support for individuals with Down syndrome. The Armbrusters fourth child, Celia Beatrice, was born with Down syndrome in November 2020, less than a year after Sleepy Eye Brewing opened.

Karlyn said a friend, Jacque Darnell, who also has a little boy, Keenan, with Down syndrome, told her about the craft beer project. Adam jumped at the opportunity after hearing about it and enlisted his partners in the effort.

Sleepy Eye Brewing Co. released its TRI-21 beer on Oct. 30 for the TRI-21 Project, an initiative highlighting World Down Syndrome Month (October) and benefiting GiGi’s Playhouse, a Down syndrome achievement center with more than 50 locations in the United States. The TRI-21 name comes from the genetic disorder that causes Down syndrome.

Sleepy Eye Brewing Co. is one of 22 breweries across four countries participating in the collaboration and the first in Minnesota to join. 

“There are many families in the Sleepy Eye area and across Minnesota whose lives are bettered by a loved one with Down syndrome,” said Adam. “Our Celia has enriched our family in so many ways. After I became aware of the TRI-21 project, I immediately knew it was something that our team at Sleepy Eye Brewing Co. would want to be a part of. We are thrilled to join the collaborative effort and want to invite other breweries around the state to do the same now or in the future. We appreciate this opportunity to contribute to GiGi’s Playhouse and other organizations working to support those with Down syndrome and their families.”

For the beer, Sleepy Eye Brewing used a New England Double IPA recipe created specifically for the TRI-21 Project and shared freely with any brewery that wanted to join. Organizers also shared artwork for a beer label with space to customize. Sleepy Eye Brewing added an image of Armbruster holding a smiling Celia.

On Oct. 30 Sleepy Eye Brewing Co. released their TRI-21 beer, highlighting World Down Syndrome Month. The label features co-owner Adam Armbruster and his daughter.

“Celia has been such a blessing to our family,” Armbruster said. “She has the sweetest personality and is cherished beyond measure. It’s a privilege to honor her and others with Down syndrome by raising awareness through the TRI-21 project.”

Here's the smiley pair in real life — Adam and Celia Armbruster.

The brewery will donate a portion of the proceeds from sales of its TRI-21 beer, which will be on tap and in crowlers for a limited time, to GiGi’s Playhouse. (SEBC Manager Dave Forster said patrons should come get theirs soon as it might be gone by the end of November.) GiGi's Playhouse is an Illinois-based network of centers that aims to change the way people view Down syndrome, sending a global message of acceptance for all and striving for a world where individuals with Down syndrome are embraced in their families, schools and communities. GiGi's Playhouse also has an at home virtual program for those not located near a center.

Learn more about the TRI-21 Project at