It’s no secret that we have enough skill, spirit and savvy in our Blackness to set our own tables, and create our realities rooted in our own best, most vibrant ideas. For brothers and sisters who love craft beer -- who brew, buy, serve and sell it -- it’s proven every time we enjoy the unique ales that we make, the diverse recipes created at dedicated breweries founded by African-Americans.
That’s the beauty of Blackness: Its unmistakable audacity. Its piercing power. Its historically bold and authentic culture. Black Brew Culture is clear that, like all other global forces, Black culture is worth taking immense pride in, staying connected tightly to, feeling completely at home with and truly celebrating to the fullest, as all cultures do in the worlds of food and beer. Welcome to Black Brew Culture’s inaugural Blacktoberfest.
As 2020 heads into fall, Black Brew Culture and Harlem Brew South present a grassroots, authentic event with eight of our country’s top Black craft brewers, each of whom help create a beer brewed specially for the occasion, our debut Blacktoberfest Marzen-style Ale. The beer was not only created by Black brewers; it was brewed and distributed by Black-owned companies as well, all in an effort to demonstrate the determined and organic way we can come together in a circular economic fashion in this industry and beyond.
We also close out a tumultuous and culturally polarizing year offering a distinct set of guidelines called the B.L.A.C.K. Beer Initiative, a five-point manifesto created to increase the awareness and efforts of African-Americans in craft brewing.
It's easy to talk the talk about supporting diversity in craft beer, but very little effective change is achieved when there is not a unifying message or set of goals. Hence, we wanted to carefully mesh together a plan of action every one of us can follow. Something serious in intent, with measurable results and tasks simple to incorporate in our respective beer-indulging practices.
The B.L.A.C.K. Beer Initiative. Five letters, five instructions. A level-up in the conversation.
BELIEVE in your power. What you do will change the game. If you're reading this, we know for certain that you are among the many millions of Americans spending over $29 billion on craft beer annually. Imagine if a bigger slice of what’s obviously a tremendous-sized pie landed on the plates of our nation’s ever-growing Black beer community. You can ensure that it does. Be clear and confident: Your observations, opinions and calculated adjustments as a craft beer consumer are what’s going to reshape the landscape.
LEARN what's out there. These brewers have created recipes for some of the most creative and innovative brews you can imagine, and they are enjoyed by novices and aficionados alike. Once you discover whose products are being placed on nearby shelves and menus, you can gradually start supporting them with consistency.
ACCESS what you desire. Tell outlets and retail locations what your money buys! The nice people running those corner stores, bars and restaurants regularly blessed with your presence -- and patronage -- will have no problem listening to your voice and, more importantly, your VISA. If a specific beer from a Black craft brewery has impressed you enough that you purchase it frequently elsewhere, informing decision makers and staff will lead to outcomes both positive and profitable.
CARE enough to ask: "Are any of these brands Black-owned?" The Brewers Association website noted a 2018 study finding Blacks made up a median of 1.8 percent of the jobs in breweries and less than 1 percent of craft brewery owners. That was two years ago and pre-pandemic, so we know those already-dismal numbers are even lower now. Don't be afraid to ask beer sellers if any of their products are procured from or made by Black brewers. Your reasonable expectation that they are shakes things up.
KNOW what you like. Educate yourself, so everybody wins! There are dozens of dope beer styles out there -- from India Pale Ales to Imperial Stouts -- as wide-ranging and diverse as the craft beer community is around the world. Take the time to decide which ones are your favorites. Getting yourself well-versed in your own preferences means you'll be able to recognize when Black-owned breweries are meeting your standards and be equipped with the language to communicate your likes and dislikes.
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