“If you have access, there’s a lot you can actually do in 20 minutes.”- Garrett Oliver, Brew Master at Brooklyn Brewery, and article by Stephanie Gravalese
I want to first shout out Stephanitaeats for this fantastic article with Garrett Oliver. This article spoke volumes to me when it comes to giving access to black people in the craft beer industry. Brewery professionals keep it simple and small sometimes. We don’t need to see these big grand gestures that can be confused with pandering. Sometimes using your words and connections can make a huge difference in the career of a black person in craft beer.
The Black is Beautiful campaign was a very strong start for breweries to show they want to be inclusive to the black community, but what’s next? How are these breweries going to keep this effort consistent? Inclusion and true anti-racism is not a one time effort. It’s a consistent effort that is filled with uncomfortable conversations and situations that ultimately lead to beautiful growth and diversity.
“There is a difference between not being a racist, and engaging in anti-racism. They are two completely different things, and they are only barely related. Anti-racism means you are doing something to counteract the pernicious effects of racism.”
You have to be a champion of anti-racism which, like the article, is different from not being a racist. Being anti-racist is breaking down the system of white privilege and and the other evils of racism no matter how difficult the task may be. In craft beer, that’s hiring people from the community that the brewery is located. It’s reaching out to black influencers, artists, and community activists to collaborate on beers. Naming your beers based off black culture is not enough to bring in the diversity and community you claim to champion in your brewery. It’s creating the same opportunities you create for white employees for black employees. Put them in positions to be successful and not to meet a certain aesthetic. That’s empathizing with the plight of the Black community from the microaggressions to the egregious showings of racism. This is not a marketing ploy, it’s an opportunity to put your money where your mouth is. Breweries this is your chance to step in the spotlight and show what a true community can look like!
Breweries, I won’t share all my secrets but if you need help with this initiative then feel free to reach out and we can talk about financials and next steps! Let’s move forward together!