Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Beer Diversity And The Need To Be Better On Both Sides

So one of the things that I have recently decided to do was to look at writing again and to provide a little something different than the video content that I often share. I mean, I do have a journalism degree so it kind of makes sense. I do hope you enjoy the writings which of course will still be focused mainly on beer, and my take on the various subjects that I look to share. These will be looking to be weekly and most will probably be short but some may be longer depending on the topic, but I will try to keep them all entertaining for sure. This being said, let's go ahead and dive in.

So what from beer has caught my attention recently? One thing has been still that I see is a lack of diversity still in beer, not just from the brewery side of things but also on the consumer side as well. Recently, Pittsburgh just held its Barrel and Flow Fest which, unfortunately, I was not able to attend as the date conflicted with previous family obligations. However, it looked to be another rousing success from what I saw read from the event. This is awesome in that it keeps pushing forward and each time since its creation has been growing, even as we faced a pandemic.

But seeing and knowing this and from what I know from my marketing background as well as advertising education which I gained under that journalism degree that I mentioned, I am still kind of but not totally surprised by missed opportunities to not just black people but all people of color that can benefit the brewing industry. There is a fondness for craft beer in Black, Latino, Asian, Native American, and anyone else that I may have missed communities. And if I missed your community then I do apologize as I was looking here at the major ones as a whole. But, as I sat in a brewery this past week for the longest time I was the only Black person there, staff or patron, and the thought just pondered my mind. 

The funny thing is that while there, the music being played was either hip-hop or r&b and I was like, well, this is interesting. Now music can be loved by anyone of any group and as a former radio DJ I will easily attest to this, but it just was one of those things that made me go hmmm. After a little time, I did see another Black male arrive as well as a Black female, they were with separate friends but in the time our numbers tripled, lol, so we were on a roll.

Now I will tell you that I never have had an issue being the only Black person anywhere, I think my early years in Catholic school probably laid the foundation for this. But still, it is funny more so maybe with craft beer than in other industry areas because there are so many touches of things that reflect on the Black community with everything from the ambiance at a brewery to the names of the beers and the culture kind of being taken for granted I feel in many cases. I feel this also happens a little with the Latino community as well with beers being called Mexican lagers, which there is not even a BJCP style as far as I know, and no one really has a definition for it. Tasting them, they are most often just the same as an adjunct lager made here in the states so what's the difference, adding a lime wedge?

But I digress and going back to my main point that drove these thoughts, how does diversity increase more? If we are having our cultures tapped into then we should also have some representation as well across the bar to which we can relate. Anything else can be seen as stealing and exploiting in some type of fashion. This doesn't mean that this is the goal of the brewery but merely, the perception that may be received. Maybe it's also on us to show up at these places that we enjoy and also ask these questions as patrons and consumers. I would like to see more people of color behind the bar, one because I used to be one back in the 90s, and is great for social skills building. And two, having other people will bring other views and other opportunities that can even help brewing grow more. Beer is a great unifier and what better place to build unity and have great conversations than a brewery? The Black Is Beautiful initiative started by Weathered Souls has been a great start for awareness, hopefully, we keep building on top of that and keep moving things forward to even higher success.

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