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On his mission to drink a beer in every Connecticut town while raising money for charity, Todd Ruggere (left) from Massachusetts stopped at the Time Out Taverne on Aug. 3 and jumped in front of their Red Sox mural. Mark Dionne/Town Times

The Pour Tour stops in Durham

When Todd Ruggere stopped at Durham’s Time Out Taverne on Sunday, Aug. 3 for a beer he was not there to relax. The stop, and specifically the beer, put Ruggere one step closer to completing his goal of drinking a beer in every town in Connecticut while raising money for charity.

Ruggere’s goal is to complete the Connecticut tour in 2014, and Durham was stop number 154 of the state’s 169 towns.

Ruggere, who lives in Grafton, Massachusetts, completed what he calls the Pour Tour of Massachusetts in 2013. He had a beer in all 351 towns and raised more than $38,000 for pediatric cancer research at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

As Ruggere described the start of his project, “I was looking randomly at a map of Massachusetts and all the weird town names like Florida, Peru, Washington. I’ve never heard of some of these towns. I thought, I’d like to visit all these towns and drink a beer in all of them ... and I’ve always wanted to raise money to fight cancer. The idea just took off.”

Ruggere started with his own town of Grafton and before long he was on his 40th town and getting calls from NBC, CNN, and the Boston Globe.

“People love beer and they hate cancer so it’s really the perfect combination,” Ruggere said.

Ruggere finished Massachusetts in eight and a half months and is scheduled to finish Connecticut in seven and half months. His last stop will be in Stratford on Aug. 16 at the Two Roads Brewery, which is a sponsor of the Pour Tour. Because of the publicity and momentum, the Connecticut tour will raise more money despite having fewer towns. With 15 towns remaining after Durham, the Connecticut trip has raised more than $42,000 for the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven.

Ruggere has had a beer with a donkey, a llama, and in Hancock, Massachusetts at a nudist colony.

Ruggere coordinates his itinerary and collects the funds mostly on his own with the help and driving assistance of a friend. Each bar coordinates its own events for the stop. Some plan a lot of activities such as raffles and contests. Others are more low-key stops to check the town off the list. In dry towns, such as Bridgewater, Connecticut, Ruggere has a beer at someone’s house.

The Time Out Taverne donated a portion of the afternoon’s sales to the Pour Tour.

Ruggere has a strong memory for where he stopped in each town, what beer he had, and how much was raised. Middlefield was checked off months ago, as number 36, in a low key fashion. After accidentally showing up at the Blackbird Tavern while it was closed, Ruggere had a beer at Rover’s.

As the itinerary is set up remotely, Ruggere sometimes does not know what type of bar he will visit. “I’ve been to a bunch of biker bars and I’ve found out that some of them are the most generous people,” Ruggere said. The Winchester Cafe in Portland raised $1,500 with a 50/50 raffle.

While the Pour Tour can look like fun, Ruggere, who works in client services at a mutual fund company, said the coordinating, collecting, and driving can be a challenge. “Everyone’s envious, but do this for two weeks and you’ll want to stop,” Ruggere said.

Ruggere might try to take the Pour Tour national at some point. If he could coordinate a big enough event at each stop and line up sponsors, he may try to have a beer in all 50 states.



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