Since George Floyd’s murder and the ensuing demonstrations, industry has responded with statements of support, many stating Black Lives Matter. The craft beer industry, at least its trade organization, the Brewers Association, has been an exception.
The BA’s website has no formal statement about police brutality and systemic racism. It does have a link to a project, Black is Beautiful, that Weathered Souls Brewery initiated. The black-owned brewery created a stout base and is encouraging other brewers to produce a beer from it.
Over 800 breweries are participating, from all fifty states and fifteen countries. According to the BA, there are over eight thousand brewers in the United States. Weathered Souls Brewery is asking the brewers who participate in the Black is Beautiful initiative to do three things:
- Donate 100% of the beer’s proceeds to local foundations that support police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged
- Choose their own entity to donate to local organizations that support equality and inclusion
- Commit to the long-term work of equality
The brewery, as part of its fundraising efforts, is also sponsoring a virtual 5k.
The craft beer industry is overwhelmingly white and male. Lees than one percent of brewers are black. Craft brewers market their product as authentic, local, and having roots in the community. The lack of diversity in the industry belies that claim.
Black is Beautiful is a project worth supporting. I plan to drink one of the beers produced if I can find it. I can’t run a 5k, but I can walk three miles and Weathered Souls gets the $35 either way.