The protests that initially broke out after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police on May 25 continue, with Black Lives Matter activists across the world calling for racial equality and police reform.
The movement inspired Marcus Baskerville, owner of Weathered Souls Brewing Company in San Antonio, Texas, to kickstart Black is Beautiful, an initiative aiming to raise awareness of racial injustice. Now, 960 breweries in 18 countries are creating their own version of a dark imperial stout, donating proceeds to local and national organizations.
Watsonville’s Fruition Brewing has joined that push. Monday, they released their own Black is Beautiful beer, a 50/50 blend of fresh imperial porter and stout aged in a single malt barrel from Venus Spirits in Santa Cruz. Fruition said 100% of the proceeds will go to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
“The craft brewing industry has a strong history of collaboration especially in times of crisis, but it is largely run by, and often caters to, a narrow white male audience,” said Fruition Brewing owner David Purgason. “We are well aware of our privilege in receiving an SBA loan to build our brewery and taproom, and that systemic discrimination has prevented generations of BIPOC from similar access to capital.“
Purgason said that as a small business during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it has been hard to donate so much product, and use up space in one of only four brewing tanks for a brand new creation.
However, he said, it is “beyond” worth it.
“We don’t want to pat ourselves on the back, or make this about us,” he said. “We will never understand the pain Black people have endured. Drawing attention to this issue is the least we could do.”
“As someone who has personally dealt with the abuse of power by the police, this recent turmoil the country is facing has hit home for me,” Baskerville stated on his website. “I contemplate how the country can move forward… For us, we feel that this is our contribution to a step. Sometimes that’s all it takes for change.”