Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of Ketut Subiyanto.
These Black-owned Breweries Are Changing The Beerhouse Industry
In the beer industry, only one percent of brewery owners are Black. Like the wine business, beer has been an industry people of color have been excluded from. The 2021 documentary One Pint at a Time shinned a light on the lack of diversity amongst beer makers. But despite a lack of representation and inclusion, Black-owned breweries have still been entering the marketplace and creating tasty craft beers.
Inspired by self-driven passions and conscious creativity, more Black brewmasters have been emerging around the country. Bringing a fresh perspective to the way beer is made and consumed, these trendsetters are redefining beer culture. Here are a few Black-owned breweries bringing innovation and creativity to the beer industry.
Neon Culture Brewing
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A new brewery coming soon to Charlottesville, VA, Neon Culture Brewing is the culmination of nostalgic flair and cultural appreciation. Founder and head brewer Corey Hoffman brewed his first batch in his mother’s kitchen in 2017. In 2020, he partnered with Decipher Brewing to produce a signature IPA brew. But he always knew he’d have a brewery of his very own.
Neon Culture Brewing is currently fundraising with hopes of opening its doors in 2023. Hoffman’s tagline for the brand is “inclusion over everything” and he believes his brewery will open more doors for people of color in the industry.
“I’ve noticed that there weren’t a lot of minorities or people of color or people that look like me in the brewing world,” Hoffman told The Daily Progress. “I started doing research and a lot of it is because access to capital is very hard for minorities. I started taking it upon myself as a mission to build inclusion and create that space.”
As the brewery gears up to open, Hoffman plans to release different brews similar to how music artists roll out mixtapes. They will be released with a ‘side A’ and B side with different themes to keep each brew fresh and relevant.
Once Neon Culture opens up it will be the first Black-owned brewery in Charlottesville and the second in the state of Virginia. Hoffman hopes to be the catalyst for a new culture of beer brewery amongst minorities. It is his mission to show the world that the brewing industry is for everyone.
Crowns & Hops
Ushering in the new now of craft beers, Crowns & Hops in Inglewood, CA is setting a new brewing standard out west. Driven by conscious creativity, co-founders Beny Ashburn & Teo Hunter built the brewery from the ground up after seeing Black culture used in beer marketing but never seeing Black faces in the taproom. Now Crowns & Hops is creating a space where people of color can gather to enjoy the savory craft beer flavors they love.
“What we’ve seen in craft beers, we’ve seen a lot of people monetize and leverage our culture for profit, for success, with no attribute back to the community where it came from,” Hunter said.
Crowns & Hops is forcing the industry to recognize the importance of Black-owned breweries. The brewery is not only producing delicious, signature brews but also encouraging racial equity and inclusion within the industry. They’ve teamed up with BrewDog for their 8 Trill Pill program to give 100 thousand dollars back to breweries of color who specialize in beer production. The pair hope to be a resource to other people of color looking to thrive in the industry.
“We want to be a source and resource for people of color in beer to get the support that they need to be sustainable, to grow to build,” Ashburn said.
Promoting community empowerment, philanthropy, and minority ownership, Crowns & Hops is setting a new table for Black breweries. You can find their craft beers in select stores in California and New York.
18th Street Brewery
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The 18th Street Brewery is the second largest brewery in Northwest Indiana. Located in Gary, the company started as a home brewing business founded by Drew Fox in 2010. Fox spent years curating his product before launching the SINISTER DIPA brew in 2013. The brand went on to convert an old dry cleaning building into a 3,200-square-foot brewpub in Gary and purchase a production warehouse in Hammond, IN.
Indianapolis is excited about 18th Street and the beer has won many awards throughout the state. Guest fall in love with the craft beer, the dynamic, ever-changing menu, and the neo-soul vibe that flows through the establishment. The Gary location also houses a 10-barrel open fermentation system and their flagship beer comes in eight different flavors.