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This Family Will Open Pennsylvania's First Wholly Black-Owned Brewery
The brewing industry continues to make strides as more Black owners are entering. In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, three men will soon open the state’s first wholly Black-owned brewery, with two others following in their footsteps.
Shaun Harris, JT Thomas, and Tim White, all related by marriage, are the faces behind Harris Family Brewery.
What started out as just a hobby for Harris with brewing at home, will soon blossom into a physical space where people can come fellowship while sipping on his unique beer creations.
“We’ve been working on the project for four years,” says Tim White said in a statement to Medium. “Honestly, I thought we’d be open by now. I was going to apply for a Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) license three months ago, but COVID-19 shut everything down.”
Without any formal training, like most white owners in the industry, Harris taught himself how to brew the profiles that will soon be on tap at the brewery. The men tried joining a Facebook group for brewers but were met with racism and backlash from the white-only group. One person even went as far as accusing them of trying to appropriate “their thing.”
Products featured in the brewery will aim to speak directly to the Black experience. Harris will focus on creating brews that appeal to those who typically prefer liquor as well as brews that pair well with foods that people of color enjoy.
Since COVID has severely delayed the process, there is no word on when the brewery will officially open. As of now, the process is about 85% complete.