One guy, 50 states and lots of beer

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First Posted: 5/11/2015

PITTSTON — Would you ever leave your job so you could travel the country, visit bars in various towns, and sample unique brews with locals?

Todd Ruggere would — and has. He’s embarked on what he calls the 2015 USA Pour Tour, a nation-wide tour where he drinks a beer or two in every state raising money for cancer awareness. This month, Ruggere will visit Ohio, Kentucky, then the Susquehanna Brewing Co. on May 16. In the two years he’s been traveling and drinking, Ruggere raised approximately $120,000. The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and various hospitals in Connecticut were recipients of 100 percent of the proceeds.

His journey all started on one very average afternoon. The 40-year-old Massachusetts native said he was bored and challenged himself to name all 351 towns in his home state.

“I was shocked when I could only name about 150 of them,” he said. “I was looking at a map and looking at all the names of the different towns and then I thought it’d be cool to go to all of them.”

He set out to visit every town in The Bay State. He took his idea one step further and decided to drink a beer at a bar or tavern everywhere he stopped. He ran into some trouble, though.

“Not every town had somewhere I could buy a beer,” he said.

That didn’t deter Ruggere.

“I had to find people who wanted to have a beer with me,” he said. “I’d find people and ask them if I could come to their house or barbecue and have a beer with them. At first it was a little awkward — going up to strangers and inviting myself over — but eventually I got over it.”

He reached his first goal and visited all 351 towns. He then set his sights to Connecticut — where in just one stop, he managed to rake in $12,000.

“It was a very rich town, you know. I had about $2,000 raised then this one person, this one guy, came up to me and handed me a check for $10,000,” Ruggere said.

That town? Ridgefield.

Another memorable donation came from a 7-year-old girl in Connecticut.

“This little girl and her father came up to me in Windham, and she handed me all the money she raised during a lemonade stand she had,” he said. “It was really just awesome.”

He’s since left his day job at a mutual fund company and is now travelling the country.

Mallory Nobile, marketing and community relations coordinator for Susquehanna Brewing Co. said everyone is looking forward to Ruggere’s visit. On May 16, a party of sorts is planned for the 2 p.m. tour. The brewery will be selling chances to win a variety of beer, golf and other themed baskets. A portion of all gift shop sales will also be donated to the USA Pour Tour.

“We’re so excited to be involved with this,” Nobile said. “We’ve all had cancer touch our lives somehow. It hits everyone really.”