Halpatter, Ology breweries join fight for equality, social justice
Craft beer is a white male dominated industry and hobby. It's no secret.
Minorities and women make up a very small percentage of this worldwide movement, from the staff, to the customers, to the owners.
We've talked about how we'd like to see that change in our column, on social media and with guests on our radio show.
One in particular, Doug Blackburn — former Tallahassee Democrat beer blogger and a guy we often refer to as the "Tallahassee Craft Beer OG" — came on our show last September and this very topic was broached.
We asked Doug, who now works as a FAMU journalism professor, if it was safe to say there wasn't much diversity in craft beer.
"It hurts me to agree with you, but it's true," he said with a sigh. "Tallahassee is a pretty segregated city, and that goes for the craft beer scene as well. But that also goes for a lot of parts of Tallahassee, and I really wish it would change."
Fast forward nine months, and things are finally happening.
Given all the nationwide protests against police brutality, two breweries our readers know well —Ology Brewing in Tallahassee and Halpatter Brewing in Lake City — are using craft beer to push for change on a local level.
Ology has joined a nationwide brewing collaboration of a stout called Black Is Beautiful. Some 450 breweries worldwide will make the same beer, sell it in their tasting room and donate all proceeds to benefit local foundations that support police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged.
It's the brainchild of Black-owned San Antonio, Texas, brewery Weathered Souls, whose owner Marcus Baskerville wrote, "As much as we want this to be about raising money, the real issue is bringing education and information, which will bring forth change to a system that has fractured so many families and has been broken for decades. This platform and collaboration is about understanding and supporting people of color and inclusion."
The project launched on June 8. Here's how it will work:
"Breweries in more than 43 states and 11 countries have signed on, as have brewers in places as far-flung as Japan, Rwanda, Brazil and the Netherlands," wrote OnWilwakuee.com reporter Bobby Tanzilo. "Weathered Souls is sharing the recipe and label art and asking participating brewers to donate 100 percent of the beer's proceeds to local foundations that support police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged; choose their own entity to donate to local organizations that support equality and inclusion; and commit to the long-term work of equality."
Ology, which is celebrating its three-year anniversary this weekend, jumped at the chance to be involved and explained why in a June 8 Facebook and Instagram post.
The post garnered nearly 800 reactions, with craft beer fans locally and around the globe applauding their efforts and vowed to support it.
Ology also participated in the "All Together" worldwide collab just last month to help raise money for displaced hospitality workers due to the coronavirus shutdown and added this too is a cause it believes in.
Ology has not said when its version of Black Is Beautiful will be released, but we will be sure to update you when it does.
Meanwhile, just to the east of Tallahassee, Halpatter Brewing in Lake City came up with its own idea to get involved: brewing a black cherry sour gose called UNITED that releases this weekend.
The beer will be sold in 16 oz cans and is very limited, but Halpatter owners Chris Cander, Jonny Frazier and Jeremy Gable are pledging to donate $10 from every four-pack sold to one "worthy charitable organization that stands for equality, social justice, and serving the underprivileged in our community."
Halpatter is taking input from its customers on which organization should be the beneficiary of the funds.
We applaud Ology and Halpatter for what they're doing. The Tallahassee Beer Society even has a few things swirling to make our craft beer scene more inclusive and diverse. We hope to tell you more soon.
But most of all, we're also listening — so if anyone has a suggestion about an event where we could use delicious, locally produced craft beer as the common ground to help unite our community, please email us.
We're all ears.
Danny Aller is the co-founder of the TLH Beer Society, a group of avid craft beer lovers. Reach the Beer Society on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.