Ensuring that equity is a cornerstone of the craft brewing industry begins with learning and growth. Projects awarded funding through the Brewers Association (BA) Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Mini-Grants Program in 2022’s third quarter bring unique educational experiences to those pursuing entrepreneurship and employment opportunities in craft beer and those seeking to explore the legacy and importance of beer in culture. Projects funded include the Entrepreneurship and Equity in Brewing program, Chicago Brewseum’s Beer Culture Summit, Fermenta Michigan’s annual meeting and anniversary, and the FemAle BrewFest.
Equity via Education
Founded by two former New Jersey charter school teachers, Entrepreneurship and Equity in Brewing (EEB) works to create wealth and employment opportunities for black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and underrepresented individuals in the craft brewing industry. Joe Mettle, a Career & Technical Education Program Manager, and Roger Apollon, Jr., founder of Four City Brewing in Orange, New Jersey, developed a 10-week program that provides online and hands-on instructor-led training on the brewing process, sensory evaluation, and business administration.
“The organization has been established with the purpose of creating a more equitable landscape for individuals passionate about becoming entrepreneurs in industries that may not typically lend the opportunity,” EEB co-founder Mettle said. “As the craft brewing industry continues to expand in popularity and increase revenue, it leaves the door open for more diversity and inclusion in ownership.”
The program is an example of the type of initiatives the Philanthropy and Outreach Subcommittee of the BA DEI Committee hopes to continue funding. “One of the goals of the DEI Committee is to increase brewery ownership among underrepresented individuals in the craft brewing community,” said Alana Koenig-Busey, BA DEI project coordinator. “Entrepreneurship & Equity in Brewing is working to do just that. We hope to see more grant applicants seeking to develop and promote job training, networking, and entrepreneurship education opportunities in 2023.”
The BA grant helped provide curriculum materials for participants, support instructors, and expand EEB’s marketing efforts.
The Chicago Brewseum is the world’s first nonprofit organization dedicated to telling the global story of beer. The Brewseum will hold its fourth annual Beer Culture Summit on Nov. 9-12. The nonprofit “highlights the dynamic culture and innovative history of one of the world’s most vibrant industries. By using stories of the past and tales of the present, the Chicago Brewseum takes a deeper look into one of the oldest beverages, its power to build community, and its importance as an ongoing cultural force.”
The summit’s slate of seminars features multiple offerings that align with the DEI Mini-Grant Program’s strategic goals to increase access to and responsible appreciation of craft beer for underrepresented populations, and to celebrate the diversity of the craft brewing community and increase the visibility of underrepresented groups and experiences.
Educational offerings kick off with a presentation from Theresa McCulla, Curator of the American Brewing History Initiative at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. McCulla’s recent work to preserve the history of brewing and the industry at large included penning a James Beard Award-winning article on Patsy Young, an enslaved woman and brewer. In her seminar, McCulla will share how two short “runaway ads” that sought Young’s recapture after she had fled from her enslaver twice, lead her to discover Young’s harrowing 15-year saga as a fugitive from slavery who used profits from her brewing to support herself as a free woman.
Other seminars include a discussion of Latinos/-as in the American fermented beverage landscape, a seminar exploring how fermented foods have shaped cultures and communities, a panel about Black women in the cider industry, a historical overview of beer and brewing in the Shanghai International Settlement from 1850-1941, and insights from an effort on the part of University of Chicago graduate students to create a digital archive of contemporary lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, plus (LGBTQ+)-owned breweries in the U.S., and LGBTQ+ bars and social spaces in Chicago.
The summit’s educational seminars will close with a panel discussion by leaders from organizations proactively working to create space and opportunities for underrepresented individuals within the industry—Beer Kulture, the Michael Jackson Foundation for Brewing and Distilling, Women of the Bevolution, and Canada-based Beer. Diversity.
All of the educational seminars at the 2022 Beer Culture Summit are virtual and day passes start at just $25. There is still time to register for these offerings as well as a number of in-person events in Chicago.
“Receiving the DEI Mini-Grant for the Beer Culture Summit this year allows us to continue to host this special gathering,” Brewseum executive director Liz Garbay said. “Funds received help us keep conference registration costs low, allowing us the ability to offer four days of educational programming to a broad audience in the most accessible way possible.”
This is the second time the Chicago Brewseum has been awarded a DEI Mini-Grant. It received the first in 2020, when the program was abbreviated due to COVID-19.
“It’s exciting to see former grant award winners submit new proposals. We get to see how these initiatives are growing, evolving, and having a greater impact. If we can play even a small role in that process, the Mini-Grants program is accomplishing what it set out to do,” said J Jackson-Beckham, Equity & Inclusion Partner for the Brewers Association.
Funded initiatives are eligible to submit proposals for subsequent DEI Mini-Grant cycles, but if awarded in two consecutive funding cycles, applicants must wait one year before submitting another proposal.
Women Continue to Lead the Way
Fermenta, a Michigan-based nonprofit trade group, is committed to providing education, networking, diversity, and empowerment for women in the fermented beverage and food industries. A DEI Mini-Grant supported Fermenta’s annual meeting and anniversary event on September 17. It was its first in-person meeting of the group since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The event included hands-on craft beer tasting and education, a craft brewing presentation, a historical account of Black people in the craft brewing industry, cultural sensitivity training, a history of Michigan craft brewing, and a roundtable featuring DEI leaders in the industry. The BA grant helped the nonprofit secure outside consultation from Black and Brew Chicago to facilitate training.
“Mickey Bryant from Black and Brew Chicago was the presenter and she was spectacular in having the attendees look at DEI differently,” Fermenta president Barb Baker said.
The grant also helped Fermenta to purchase items to grow the nonprofit’s brand exposure and acquire a WeVow membership. WeVow is a third-party anonymous reporting service that provides sexual assault prevention training and access to human resources consultation. BA members are eligible for a 50% discount on WeVow membership. They are, “both very important items that we will have forever,” Baker said.
The FemAle Brew Fest, held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, highlighted more than two dozen beer experts who were on hand to interact with and educate festival goers. Attendees tasted an array of wonderful beers, gained an understanding of how they were produced, and learned how women have contributed to the craft brewing industry as a whole.
“It’s important to continue to produce the FemAle Brew Fest, now more than ever with the growing number of women in the industry,” FemAle founder Frances Antonio-Martineau said. “As the festival enters its sixth year, I am proud that this pioneering event continues to provide a platform for women in the brewing industry to showcase their craft and has become an inspiration for others to create similar events. And, most importantly, to inspire women and little girls to not be afraid of getting into male-dominated industries. If you can see someone who is like you in a role, it’s a way that you can imagine yourself in that role.”
For a full list of past grant recipients and more information about the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Mini-Grants Program, visit BrewersAssociation.org. The 2023 DEI Mini-Grant guidelines will be published in November 2022.