Black is Beautiful beer distributed by Walmart to spread racial injustice awareness
Black is Beautiful is no longer just a saying. It's a beer.
San Antonio-based brewery Weathered Souls Brewery created its Black Is Beautiful stout last May, but the collaboration for justice through beer is now opening up to the rest of the nation.
Breweries in Arkansas, Mississippi and North Carolina are taking part in the initiative and the world's largest retailer is helping out. Walmart is working with nine breweries across the South to sell this dark beer that will have proceeds go to organizations that "support police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged," according to the Black Is Beautiful website.
Weathered Souls released the imperial stout recipe and packaging for other breweries to join the initiative as long as they pledged to donate a portion of the sales to groups dedicated to the initiative.
For Core Brewing & Distilling Co. in Springdale that group is the Northwest Arkansas African American Heritage Association. The imperial stout recipe was scaled down in Arkansas due to alcohol levels allowed for beers sold in the state's grocery stores.
At the Black Is Beautiful website, more than 1,200 breweries in all 50 states and 22 countries have joined the initiative.
Walmart picked up the idea when craft beer merchant Adrienne Freeman discovered Weathered Souls on social media. She then coordinated with Weathered Souls and eight other breweries to make the beer and put it in 300 Walmart stores from February to March. It will be in 55 Texas Walmarts year-round.
In all, the beer will be available in 18 states, Freeman said in an email.
Breweries taking part include:
3 Sons Brewing Co. – Dania Beach, Florida
Catawba Brewing Co. – Asheville, North Carolina
Core Brewing Co. – Springdale, Arkansas
Monday Night Brewing – Atlanta, Georgia
Palmetto Brewing Co. – Charleston, South Carolina
Revision Brewing Company – Sparks, Nevada
Solemn Oath Brewery – Naperville, Illinois
Southern Prohibition Brewing – Hattiesburg, Mississippi
"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," wrote Marcus Baskerville, the Weathered Souls brewer who came up with the initiative, on the Black Is Beautiful 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."
Weathered Souls is the only Black-owned brewery in Texas and one of fewer than 70 Black-owned breweries in the United States, Freeman said in an email.
Core Brewing, founded by Fort Smith native Jesse Core, became involved with the project when Freeman approached the company about making the beer. Cole Brothers, Core's lead sales manager, said he was honored to be a part of the Black Is Beautiful campaign and glad Core could “do our part in our own special way."
Southern Prohibition Brewing was involved with the Black Is Beautiful project for the first time last summer, Head Brewer Benjamin Green said. That time, the beer was served mostly in the taproom and 100% of the proceeds went to the Mississippi American Civil Liberties Union.
This time around approximately 15% of the profits will go to the American Civil Liberties Union.
For Core, 10% of its sales will go to the Northwest Arkansas African American Heritage Association.
Each brewery determines the portion of its profits that it will donate to organizations promoting racial equality, Freeman noted in an email.
Brothers said Core's version of the beer and other companies will not be an exact replica of Weathered Souls' beer but will be a close rendition.
Core had to adjust the beer to appease Arkansas laws for grocery store sales, limiting Weathered Soul's beer that had more than 10% alcohol down to 6.2%.
All the companies using the recipe will use the same packaging as well. The only difference is that each company has its own logo attached to the beer.
Core's Head Brewer Roddy Medina and Lead Brewer Jamie Conway worked together to develop the beer for the Arkansas brewery. The recipe includes two-row malted barley, two kinds of chocolate malts, a brown malt and flakes oats. Hops used by include Cascade and Willamette.
“They really worked together to get this project in the endzone," Brothers said.
The point of the campaign, Brothers added, is to spread awareness about racial injustice.
“The initiative just kind of goes larger than what beer is," Green said.
Green noted that the project allowed the brewers to use beer as a platform to inform people about issues such as police brutality.
“Beer has a unique opportunity to unite people," Brothers said.