Learning to be Weathered

Sometimes, I let the press release take the wheel, especially when it is something important, so read on and I will have comments below.

“Rahr Corporation and craft brewing industry leader Marcus Baskerville today announced the launch of a new, first-of-its-kind incubation program aimed at supporting and creating space for underrepresented groups in the craft brewing industry. The Harriet Baskerville Incubation Program will provide structured brewing education, training, professional mentorship, and resources to women and Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) brewers.

The program will be housed in Baskerville’s new Weathered Souls Brewing Co. location opening later this year in Charlotte, North Carolina, and targets brewers who are transitioning to professional commercial brewing and planning to either start or own a brewery. Over the course of one year, 12 brewers will be selected to travel to Weathered Souls for a monthlong immersive program. Rahr Corporation has committed $100,000 to fully fund the program’s first year.

“We are proud to support this unique program that is actively taking steps to diversify our industry and broaden its appeal,” said Rahr Corporation President and CEO Willie Rahr. “Our company believes that fostering a more diverse and inclusive industry is not only morally imperative but can also be a driver of growth for craft beer. Through this partnership, we can help build a stronger and more sustainable brewing industry for future generations.”

According to 2020 data from the Brewers Association, there are approximately 8,800 breweries in the U.S., and less than 65 are Black-owned. And while 22% of the country’s breweries have women in ownership, partnership or majority shareholder roles, women represent only 7.5% of actual brewers.

“Even with the unprecedented growth and popularity of the craft beer movement, women and people of color continue to be left out,” said Baskerville, founder and leader of the program. “Named after my grandmother, the Harriet Baskerville Incubation Program will provide opportunities for those who are underrepresented in our industry to gain hands-on training and education in brewing – hopefully jump-starting incredible careers.”

Participants will learn about brewery maintenance and brewing beer on professional equipment; malting and analytical tests related to brewing practices; yeast propagation, cell counting, viability and health; and how to create, finance and market a sustainable brewing program. They will have access to Rahr’s technical experts and premium products.”

This is basic teamwork here. Find and train and then they will push the ball forward with you in the future. And since the mood towards quotas and hiring seems to be negative at the moment, this training probably won’t be pushed overall and needs to be pulled instead. I hope this program works and can seed breweries all across the country.