The Beer Industry Looks for Ways to Help Black Brewers

The first recipient is Jade Briggs, 31, who has worked at several Atlanta breweries. “I had such a limited vision of what I could be until I found beer,” said Ms. Briggs, who is Black.

Her ultimate goal is owning a brewery, helping to close a vast gap. Of the more than 8,000 breweries in the United States, only about 60 are Black-owned. One, Thunderhawk Alements, in San Diego, closed in June after a disagreement among its owners.

Fremont Brewing, in Seattle, plans early next year to offer a six- to eight-week internship, with a room and board stipend. “We can open doors and introduce people to opportunities,” said Matt Lincecum, a founder.

Constellation Brands, the importer of Corona and other beers, is trying to address the racial disparity with its Focus on Minority Founders program, announced in June. The company’s venture capital division will invest $100 million in Black- and minority-owned alcohol beverage businesses over the next decade.

“Unless we have more breweries, where are those brewers going to get a job?” asked Beny Ashburn, a founder of Crowns & Hops, a Black-owned beer brand that brews on other companies’ equipment. (It plans to open its own brick-and-mortar brewery in Inglewood, Calif., by 2022.)

This month, Crowns & Hops began the 8 Trill Pils initiative to provide money and support for Black-owned breweries and taprooms. The name of the development fund, which started with a $100,000 grant from BrewDog brewery, refers to a 2018 study by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation that said racial-equity efforts by American businesses could add $8 trillion to the nation’s economy by 2050.

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