August 7, 2020
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Craft breweries across the country are selling Black Is Beautiful beer to raise money for racial justice

Texas craft brewer Marcus Baskerville created the stout recipe and is offering it up to fellow brewers. He asks that they donate the proceeds to local organizations that support police reform and legal defense funds.

Along with the beer recipe, Weathered Souls Brewing Company in San Antonio provides a Black Is Beautiful label, which participating brewers can use on their cans and bottles. Image courtesy of Weathered Souls Brewing Company

Marcus Baskerville, owner of Weathered Souls Brewing Company in San Antonio, knows beer. So when a protest movement against police brutality began to spread across the nation in June, he knew he could make an impact doing what he knows best. And so he launched Black Is Beautiful beer.

“As someone who has personally dealt with the abuse of power by the police, this recent turmoil the country is facing has hit home for me,” Baskerville said in a statement on his website. “As I write this, I contemplate how the country can move forward, how we as the people, can create change, and what it will take for everyone to move forward with a common respect for one another. For us, we feel that this is our contribution to a step.”

Baskerville made the recipe available to anyone who wants to brew it, as well as a logo for the can. Beer makers can add their own twist to the stout, which includes ingredients like dark chocolate malt, caramel, oats, roasted barley and black malt.

Baskerville has requested that the breweries donate 100 percent of its proceeds to local organizations that support police reform and legal defense funds. Weathered Souls will be donating it’s proceeds to Know Your Rights Camp.

Since launching the stout beer and the initiative that goes along with it, more than 1,000 breweries from all 50 states and 17 different countries have signed on to participate—from Vietnam to Brazil.

[Read more: Refugees keep this coffeeshop buzzing in suburban Atlanta]

“After they brew the beers, I don’t want that message to disappear,” Baskerville told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in July.

One of the breweries participating includes Good City Brewing in Milwaukee, one of 14 beer makers in Wisconsin participating. They will be using proceeds from their Aug. 15 Black is Beautiful launch event to support a housing initiative that will revitalize 30 homes in the area.

“Black is Beautiful is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the disparity in economic development, what we believe is one of the greatest inequities our city faces,” Good City’s co-owner David Dupee told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Further south, in Chicago, 27 local brewers are participating in the initiative. One of them, Revolution Brewing, is donating to My Block My Hood my City, an organization that aims to “provide underprivileged youth with an awareness of the world and opportunities beyond their neighborhood.”

In Austin, Texas, Zilker Brewing Company is also participating. “Inequality isn’t going anywhere anytime soon,” co-founder Patrick Clark told KVEU Austin. “So what are you going to do to continue to support the initiative? What are you going to do to continue to support your community?”

Zilker will donate sales of the beer to The Austin Justice Coalition, which works to provide education and opportunities for Austin’s Black and Brown communities.

Over on the East Coast, Philadelphia’s Love City Brewing has already sold out of their version of the Black is Beautiful beer—which featured toasted coconut. Its sales will support Black Lives Matter Philly. Love City even reached out to two other Pennsylvania breweries to collaborate on the beer—Harris Family Brewery and Two Locals Brewing Co.

“The brewing industry has a history of doing things like this when something big happens,” Melissa Walter, cofounder of Love City Brewing told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “People come together and brew a beer and donate some of the proceeds to an organization.”

Caitlin Fairchild

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Caitlin Fairchild is the Deputy Editor of The Renewal Project.