Connecticut brewers are joining a nationwide movement to support racial equality by doing what they do best: brewing beer.
"It is a beautiful cause," said Michael Zaccaro, co-owner of Tox Brewing Company in New London.
Tox Brewing is one of eight breweries in Connecticut that are now brewing the "Black is Beautiful" beer.
"It is powerful," said Alisa Bowens-Mercado, owner of Rhythm Brewing Company in New Haven, which is also participating.
The Black is Beautiful initiative started in Texas. Weathered Souls Brewing Company, in San Antonio, started brewing the specially made beer, "Black is Beautiful", and posted the recipe online for any brewery to download for free. According to the Black is Beautiful website, the beer is "brewed to support justice and equality for people of color."
Weathered Souls worked with an artist, Kevin Dyer, and created a label. The label is on the website to be downloaded as well. They are inviting breweries across the country to make the beer, with whatever twist they would like to add, and use the label to show solidarity across the industry.
According to the website, the leaders of the initiative ask all participating breweries to:
- Donate 100 % of the beer's proceeds to local foundations that support police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged
- Choose their own entity to donate to local organizations that support equality and inclusion
- Commit to the long-term work of equality
Half Full Brewery in Stamford, Kent Falls Brewing Company in Kent, Labyrinth Brewing Company in Manchester, Little House Brewing Co. in Chester, Lock City Brewing Company in Stamford, Luppoleto Brewing Co. in Windsor Locks, Rhythm Brewing Company in New Haven and Tox Brewing Company in New London are the eight Connecticut breweries participating.
"This whole movement to us is: we acknowledge that racism exists in the world and, secondly, that it is a bad thing," said Zaccaro, co-owner of Tox Brewing Company. "It is not hard to rally around those two things. It exists and it is bad. If that is all you take away from this, we are happy.”
Alisa Bowens-Mercado, owner of Rhythm Brewing Company, was the first woman of color to own a brewing company in the state. Her mission has always been to diversify the beer industry. She believes that the Black is Beautiful initiative is a good step.
“It is really promoting diversity and it is really promoting inclusion,” said Bowens-Mercado. “It lets me know that the industry is moving in the right direction.”