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.


Here is a sobering statistic for you, “88% of U.S. craft brewery owners and 89% of brewers are Caucasian (and majority male).”

But there is a way to help bring about change….

“To help increase representation in the brewing industry, UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education is launching “Pour it Forward,” a crowdfunding effort to fund a full, diversity-focused scholarship to its prestigious UC Davis Online Master Brewers Certificate Program.

“Changing an industry takes time, but education and the lifetime of opportunities it represents is the first step,” said Dr. Glen Fox, academic director of the Master Brewers Certificate Program. “By supporting ‘Pour it Forward,’ beer enthusiasts will have a lasting, positive impact on both the scholarship recipient and the industry we are all so passionate about.”

“Pour it Forward” runs from October 1st-31st and is part of the annual “Crowdfund UC Davis” campaign, which raised nearly $800,000 from more than 3,900 gifts in 2020. “Pour it Forward” hopes to raise $16,000 to cover all fees and materials for the Online Master Brewers Certificate Program, including a week-long, in-person bootcamp at UC Davis’ state-of-the-art August A. Busch III pilot brewery and Sierra Nevada Brewing Science laboratory.”

North Coast to Davis

Another positive step in creating a more diverse craft beer world, read the below snippet from UC Davis….

“A $50,000 endowment from North Coast Brewing Company of Fort Bragg, California will launch the Mark E. Ruedrich North Coast Brewing Diversity Scholarship for the brewing program at UC Davis. The gift ensures that, by supporting education and opportunity, North Coast Brewing Company furthers its goal of promoting diversity in the brewing industry in perpetuity.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to improve our community,” said Jeff Ottoboni, CEO of North Coast Brewing Company. “The tumultuous events of 2020 reinforced the need for us to make this significant commitment and lead efforts to promote diversity in the brewing industry. Twenty-four hours later, we were on the phone with UC Davis.”

Recognizing UC Davis’ commitment to inclusion and diversity and its reputation for brewing education, the brewery partnered with the Master Brewers Certificate Program at UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education to support aspiring brewing professionals. “We have an obligation to our employees, our community and our world to do what is right at all times and in this case, the best way to do that – to create meaningful, long-lasting change – is through education,” said Ottoboni.”