Less than 1% of craft breweries in the U.S. are owned by African Americans. The National Black Brewers Association (NB2A) was recently formed as a membership-based non-profit organization to help African American brewers and brewery owners with their specific needs and issues. Today we celebrate the first National Black Brewers Day, the day in 1970 that Peoples Brewing Company became the first Black-owned brewery in U.S. history. NB2A Program Manager Alana Koenig-Busey discusses with ProBrewer co-founder Mark Silva the details of this monumental day and more about the mission of NB2A.
Distilling Made Easy! iStill is the world's leading distillery manufacturer with over 800 operating distilleries globally. We offer groundbreaking technology, we supply amazing distilling courses, and we provide the craft distilling industry with medal winning recipes.
Mark Silva: Can you tell us about the importance of October 10th and Theodore “Ted” Mack, Sr.?
Alana Koenig-Busey: On October 10th, 1970 Theodore A. (Ted) Mack, Sr. and his business associates celebrated the purchase of Peoples Brewing Company in Oshkosh, Wisconsin with over 2,000 guests, including stockholders, local and state legislators and notable dignitaries. On this day Mr. Mack became the first Black brewery president in the United States, and Peoples Brewing Company became the first Black-owned brewery in U.S. history.
Silva: It’s a big deal that California signed the first declaration for National Black Brewers Day. What other states and cities are participating and how can ProBrewers encourage their regions to adopt similar resolutions?
Koenig-Busey: The purpose of Black Brewers Day is to have a day where beer fans around the country can pause to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions and efforts of Black brewers and Black-owned breweries in the United States. The State of California was the first followed by the City of New Orleans and State of Louisiana, Los Angeles County, City of Sacramento, the Cities of Toledo, and Cleveland, OH. We are also expecting more jurisdictions in Oklahoma, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, and Colorado. The National Black Brewers Association has created a legislative toolkit for those who wish to encourage their local legislators to pass resolutions marking October 10th as Black Brewers Day, folks can contact the NB2A (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request more information.
Silva: NB2A seems to be everywhere in a short time: at CBC and GABF; on the shelves with the return of Black Is Beautiful; at the CA State Capital; and visible across the USA with your board members. Can you share a timeline from founding to now and share more about your mission?
Koenig-Busey: We are doing 3 years worth of work in one! So, if it seems like we are everywhere and doing a lot……..we are! From our incorporation date of December 2022 to our first board meeting in February of 2023, until today, we are motivated to establish this organization as the most trusted and effective trade organization for Black brewers. Craft beer is a multi-billion-dollar industry, out of nearly 10,000 craft breweries in the country, only about 1% are owned by Black individuals. Brewing in the US is an industry that requires considerable access to capital whereas African Americans as a whole have limited financial means given the challenges arising out of historical and institutional racism. The National Black Brewers Association (NB2A) was launched in May 2023 as a 501c6 non-profit organization dedicated to creating a more inclusive and vibrant beer industry by providing Black brewers access to the resources, mentorships, and networks needed to thrive. The NB2A has five goals:
- Promoting the Black brewing community.
- Increasing the number of African American individuals in the brewing industry at all levels of production, especially ownership and brewmasters.
- Exercising influence by developing and advocating for effective policies.
- Serving as a centralized clearinghouse for business advice, mentorship, training, workforce development, education, and communication.
- Fostering historical context and legacy surrounding African American influence on brewing in the United States.
Silva: Is NB2A exclusively for Black brewing professionals or is there a way the broader brewing community and Allied Trade can support?
Koenig-Busey: Membership in the NB2A is open to anyone. Our goal is to have 100% of Black brewers join along with hundreds of other individuals and companies who play a role in the craft brewing space and wish to support the NB2A’s mission. We offer a variety of different membership tiers, including memberships for Allied Trade companies, homebrewers, and individuals. To learn more about membership, visit www.NB2A.org
Silva: What’s ahead in 2024?
Koenig-Busey: The NB2A currently has 3 key initiatives to help us accomplish this work: Membership, Black is Beautiful, and National Black Brewers Day. While we have kickstarted these initiatives in 2023 they will continue to be priorities in 2024. We are looking to expand our membership and will continue to seek and develop resources to support our members. The Black is Beautiful campaign is a fundraising effort which will help the NB2A in reaching its goals. Those interested in brewing the beer or just wish to donate can visit www.BlackisBeautiful.beer for the recipe and to donation information. National Black Brewers Day will be a continued effort as we make progress through different cities and states, with the end goal of getting Black Brewers Day recognized on the federal level.
Silva: Anything else you would like to share and how can ProBrewers find you?
Koenig-Busey: Visit our website www.NB2A.org to sign up and become a member…..whether you are a Black brewer or simply see the value of what we do, please become a member. Also visit our News & Events page for where to find us at future industry events.