This blog has taken me a long time to compose. After speaking with @BlackBrewMovement in March and visiting Richmond in April, I was inspired and motivated to share my craft beer journey with the world! Weekend after weekend, I sat at breweries trying to find the words, the right words, to explain “how I got into craft beer.”
Thirteen IPAs later, I still do not know. LOL
Over the last couple of months, I have been asked this question several times and frankly, I don’t have an answer. I remember the first time I tried Corona and the first time I tried Blue Moon, but craft beer escapes my memory. Probably because Black people are socialized into drinking shitty beer and isolated from being exposed to higher quality ones. But I will save those thoughts for a future blog.
Though I do not remember when I first starting drinking craft beer, I distinctly remember the people and places that have helped cultivate this new passion. People like Sara Laughlin, my IPA twin, who recommended new local IPAs and booked Land Grant Brewing Company for our Master’s graduation happy hour, O-H! Places like Athens, Georgia, the site where I visited my first craft brewery (Creature Comforts) and found my love for IPAs at Terrapin Beer Company. However, there is one person in particular, who encouraged me to start a beer blog without knowing that I had started one the day before.
Nick Mutebi – Thank you for your blessing and confidence!
On February 1, 2019, I created a new Instagram account entitled @TheIPAWay. The purpose of this platform is to memorialize my brewery experiences, share craft beer recommendations, and connect with other Black people passionate about craft beer. After visiting 56 breweries in 21 different cities (11 states), we have defined our top three values to be equity, inclusion, and fun. Our vision and mission statement are listed below:
Vision: We will increase the number of historically minoritized and underrepresented identities as owners and brewers in the craft beer industry.
Mission: To introduce, educate, and socialize Black people into the craft beer industry.
It is no secret that white people are extremely overrepresented in the craft beer industry. And it is no longer surprising to see the shock on their faces when a Black man walks into their breweries with hoop earrings and AirPods requesting their flagship IPA. Because of my personal experiences, I believe it is imperative we fight for our palate, perspective, and platform to be represented in brewhouses and taprooms. Fortunately, I have colleagues in this space that have helped lead the wave.
@BlackBrewMovement – Thank you again for the opportunity to share my story with y’all and learn more about how we can collaborate in the future. Over the last couple of months, it is evident that we have shared experiences and similar goals on how we can help diversify the industry, especially in the DMV.
@WeAreCapsoul – When I reached out to you 2 days before coming to Richmond, I did not expect you would be available to connect during Easter weekend. Not only were you available, but you planned an impromptu hop crawl that was more than successful! Still thankful you took the initiative on making that happen and am excited for the work you will continue to do in RVA and beyond. Still can’t believe we visited 8 breweries in 2 days.
@BlackBeerTravelers – Congrats again on your new role! I believe you were the first Instagram account I followed after making @TheIPAWay and even when I only had 2 followers, you would still share, like, and comment on my posts because you believed in my vision. I am still blossoming and eager for where my account will go from here, however I am glad I have your support. I look forward to the day we can connect and grab a beer together.
This is only the beginning.
I am Black and I love craft beer. It may not be universally common, but it is unanimously me. If you are not following @TheIPAWay on Instagram, this is a prime opportunity to do so! Together, we are shifting the narrative in the industry and I would love for y’all to join us on the ride.
And the next time you attempt to drink Budweiser, Miller Lite, or God forbid, a 40oz…
Don’t. You will thank me later.
Encourage somebody to be great today!