The South is full of hidden gems, from hole-in-the-wall soul food restaurants to historical sites to learn about Black history. Another thing to check out in the south is the Black-owned breweries throughout the region, each with its own story and character. Whether you live in the South or are going on a cross-country road trip, these Black-owned southern breweries are the perfect spot to take a break and have a good beer while giving support to Black brewers.
How Many Black-Owned Breweries Are There in the US?
There are about 8,500 breweries in the United States, with a wide variety of histories and serving many different types of beer. However, out of these many breweries, only about 60 are run by Black brewery owners, which is less than 1%. On the other hand, 88% of breweries in the country are white-owned. Over the last couple of years, this discrepancy has come to light, and many people in the craft beer industry have been vocal in their desire to support the Black craft brewing community.
In an effort to change the tide, J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham was hired as the Diversity Ambassador at the Brewers Association in 2018. Then, the first Black beer festival, Fresh Fest, was launched. This featured brewers from around the country like Black Frog Brewery, Harlem Brewing Company, and White Lion Brewing Company.
Although these are important steps, there's still a long way to go until Black brewers have equal representation in the brewing community. One way to support the black-owned breweries in our country is to make the decision to check out a black-owned brewery from time to time, rather than sticking with your favorite neighborhood taproom. Here are 10 Black-owned breweries throughout the south that are worth stopping by for a drink.
1. Down Home Brewing Co.- Atlanta, GA
Down Home Brewing Co. in Atlanta is Georgia's first African American-owned brewery. This brewery was founded in 2017 by Chris Reeves and William Allen Moore and is renowned for its innovation in the craft beer industry. For your first beer here, try the Georgia Hooch IPA or T-Pom Pomegranate Wheat Ale!
2. Weathered Souls Brewing Co.- San Antonio, TX
Weathered Souls Brewing Co. is especially known for the Black is Beautiful Initiative in 2020, a collaborative effort by the brewing community and its customers to raise awareness about the injustices that people of color face in everyday life. Co-founder and head brewer Markus Baskerville created the initiative, succeeding bringing together over a thousand breweries worldwide. Distilling deep stouts and refreshing IPAs, Weathered Souls Brewing Co. is the place to go in San Antonio.
3. Green Bench Brewing Company- St. Petersburg, FL
If you find yourself in Florida, Green Bench is the Black-owned brewery to go out of your way for. Brewmaster Chris Johnson is a world-class brewer who's worked to give Green Bench a prominent spot in the beer scene. From hazy IPAs to lagers to German pilsners, Green Bench is known for their high-quality brews. Try Kulture 'Tings, brewed in collaboration with Beer Kulture, a non-profit that aims to increase diversity in the craft beer industry.
4. 1865 Brewing Co.- Hamton Roads, VA
1865 Brewing Co. is the first Black people-owned brewery in Hampton Roads, Virginia. This popular brewery also functions as a coffee shop, mocktail station, and nutritional juice bar, so you can find whatever you need. Whet her you're looking for a porter, a double stout or an apple sasion brewed with fresh Virginia apples, this brewery has it.
5. Sankofa Beer Co.- Washington, D.C.
Sankofa Beer Company is a unique craft brewery in Washington D.C. Its founders Kofi Meroe and Amado Carsky were raised in West Africa, and they take inspiration from their upbringing and heritage to challenge the conventions of craft beer. Each beer has a tasty twist and contains creative ingredients like dried hibiscus and cocoa nibs.
6. Joyhound Beer Co.- Baltimore, MD
Joyhound Beer Co. was founded by Alfred Rotimi, who first fell in love with beer when studying psychology when he realized the amount of biochemistry involved in brewing. He eventually took his home brewing to a new level by opening Joyhound with his family. The brewery currently offers a Pincer Belgian Pale Ale and an Oba IPA, which can be found in bars and stores state-wide.
7. Harlem Brew South- Rocky Mount, NC
Harlem Brew South, run by Harlem Beer Distributing, aims to create delicious beers that "reflect the flavor and uniqueness of the craft and communities that inspire them." Harlem Brewing began with small-batch homebrews over 20 years ago, and now is known around the country for their Harlem Sugar Hill Golden Ale and Harlem Renaissance Wit. This Black-owned southern brewery is worth a visit when you're passing through North Carolina.
8. Cajun Fire- New Orleans, LA
Cajun Fire is the first Black-owned brewing company in Louisiana and in the south, along with being the fifth Black-owned brewery in the history of our country! Opened during the prohibition era, this craft brewery uses high-quality ingredients and local produce in their brews, ensuring that their products are top-of-the-life. Try the Blacktoberfest, Big Chief Crème Stout or Cajun Fire Honey Ale to see for yourself.
9. Khonso Brewing- Atlanta, GA
Khonso Brewing has made a name for itself with its creative beer experience, which involves using different flavors, hops, yeasts and grains to produce new, revolutionary brews. The Khonso Experience is described as "an unforgettable escape from the ordinary." Founded by Kevin Downing, Corby Hannah, and William Teasley, three best friends who love beer, this brewery is an iconic spot in Atlanta.
10. Soul Mega- Washington, D.C.
Soul Mega is another black-owned southern brewery that switches it up in the craft beer industry. The goal is to "create a culture that embraces creativity and inclusion," and Soul Mega's brewers operate with the dream to create much more than can be imagined in the present. This vision and creativity is obvious in the atmosphere and brews that Soul Mega creates. Check out this Black-owned southern brewery when in Washington, D.C.
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