Black-Owned Breweries in the United States
This started as a community-sourced list in our forums back in June 2020 after posting in support of #BlackLivesMatter. It didn’t gain much traction. Only 50 or so breweries were posted and over the months the thread slowly drifted out of sight and out of mind, but when Black History Month started I vowed to revisit maintaining a list of Black-owned breweries in the US. There had to be more, right?
As I restarted my search, my first question was: What was the first Black-owned brewery in the US? So far, most sources point to three breweries as being some of the first.
- “A blind African American named John Randolph Smith” founded Colony House Brewing Company in Philadelphia in 1955.
- “A group of black entrepreneurs acquired the Sunshine Brewing Company” in Reading, Pennsylvania in October 1969. It closed a year later.
- And most famous, the Peoples Brewing Company was founded in 1912 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. A group of Milwaukee investors led by Theodore Mack Sr. acquired the brewery in 1970, but Peoples was forced to close in 1973 due to financial issues and, as Mack put it, “Everywhere we go, we run into the white power structure.”
Over fifty years later, the American beer scene remains overwhelmingly white. Why? Dave Infante covered this for Thrillist back in 2015. You should read it.
In 2018, Dr. J. Jackson-Beckham, Founder of Craft x EDU and Principal at Crafted For All, told NPR that that there’s “an overrepresentation of white folks on both the production and the consumption side” when there were maybe 50 Black-owned breweries out of nearly 7,600 in the US. A year later, the Brewers Association shared survey results that claimed Black brewery owners make up only one percent and Black employees a little over four percent.
In 2020, new initiatives like Black is Beautiful brought awareness to the injustices that many People of Color face every single day, while 8TrillPils and the Michael Jackson Foundation for Brewing & Distilling raised the bar for bringing education and empowerment to the Black beer community. And prior to COVID-19, events like Fresh Fest continued to breathe new life into a stale beer fest scene by uniting and celebrating Black beer culture. Collectively, they’ve been an inspirational force and critical in helping to move the conversation forward.
Today, there are roughly 8,500 breweries in the US alone with hundreds, if not thousands, in planning. But how many are Black-owned? According to the list below, less than one percent and not all of them are open yet. I’m sure there are more, but discovering them hasn’t been easy. So, with your help, the goal is to maintain a list of Black-owned commercial breweries in the US for those interested in learning more, create more awareness, and help keep the conversation moving forward here at BeerAdvocate.
- Gravity BrewWorks | Big Flat
- Chula Vista Brewery | Chula Vista
- Crowns & Hops Brewing Co. | Inglewood
- Full Circle Brewing Co. | Fresno
- Hella Coastal | Oakland *
- Oak Park Brewing Co. | Sacramento
- People’s Republic of South Central (South Los Angeles Beverage Company) | Los Angeles
- Speakeasy Ales & Lagers (Hunters Point Brewery) | San Francisco
- Urban Roots Brewing | Sacramento
- Warcloud Brewing Co. | Los Angeles
- Rhythm Brewing Co. | New Haven
District of Columbia
- Green Bench Brewing Co. | St. Petersburg
- Atlantucky Brewing | Atlanta *
- Down Home Brewing | Atlanta
- Hippin’ Hops Brewery & Oyster Bar | Atlanta
- Khonso Brewing | Atlanta
- Black Horizon Brewing Co. | Willowbrook
- Cajun Fire | New Orleans
- 67 Degrees Brewing | Franklin
- Brazo Fuerte | Watertown
- Brockton Beer Co. | Brockton
- Crue Brew Brewery | Raynham
- White Lion Brewing Co. | Springfield
- 734 Brewing Co. | Ypsilanti
- Arctic Circle Brewing Co. | Chesterfield *
- Black Calder Brewing Co. | Kentwood
- Black Fire Winery & Brewery | Tecumseh
- Montgomery Brewing Co. | Montgomery
- 7Five Brewing Co. | Las Vegas
- Nexus Brewery | Albuquerque
- Dirtbag Ales | Hope Mills
- Harlem Brew South | Rocky Mount *
- Rocky Mount Brewery | Rocky Mount
- Spaceway Brewing Co. | Rocky Mount
- Alematic Artisan Ales | Huber Heights
- Black Frog Brewery | Holland
- Cincy Brewing Co. | Cincinnati
- Crafted Culture Brewing Co. | Gahanna
- Esoteric Brewing Co. | Cincinnati
- Assembly Brewing | Portland
- Harris Family Brewery | Harrisburg *
- Mack Brewing Co. | Philadelphia
- Two Locals Brewing Co. | Philadelphia
- Beale St. Brewing Co. | Memphis
- Blackman Brewing | Dallas
- Island to Island Brewery | Dallas *
- Seguin Brewing Co. | Seguin
- Urban Jungle Brewing | Austin *
- Weathered Souls Brewing Co. | San Antonio
- Policy Kings Brewery | Cedar City
- 1865 Brewing Co. | Phoebus *
- Métier Brewing Co. | Woodinville
* = in planning
- Black co-owners who have an equal or majority stake are included.
- Beer marketing companies/brands are included.
- Homebrewers aren’t included.
- Out of respect, breweries who’ve asked to not be included as they don’t want to be labeled or targeted as a Black-owned business won’t be listed.
- While not the owner of Brooklyn Brewery, Brewmaster Garrett Oliver has been its face since the 90s and is one of the most accomplished brewers in modern beer history. He also founded the Michael Jackson Foundation for Brewing & Distilling.
- Run the Jewels has released over 30 collaboration beers with breweries around the world.
- Nappy Roots have been releasing collaborations under Atlantucky Brewing while they plan on opening their own brewery and taproom in Atlanta this year.
If you have any additions, corrections, or suggestions, please reply in the comments or drop me a note. ■