Watch the timeline of this initiative and some of the highlights below.
Its midnight and I'm laying in bed thinking of how I can continue to make a difference in the beer community. I read the article in Good Beer Hunting titIed "Diversifying the Pipeline-Scholarships Aim to Confront Challenges to Minority Employment in Craft Beer" . While reading the article, what hit home the most was what Dr. Nikol Jackson-Beckham said about "tokenism". I realized that in that moment I was subconsciously contributing to the idea of "tokenism" by being comfortable with being the "only one". I was the only black person that worked at my previous brewery, although they had other minorities at different periods of time. I was the first and only black person that had ever worked at the grocery store bar I worked at. I was one of the only ones, at the NC Craft Brewers Guild conference a few months earlier. Being the "only one" had become a part of the "norm" for me and I realized I wasn't okay with that anymore. While laying in bed that night, I decided that I wanted to change the ideology of being okay with "tokenism" and I wanted to invite other women to the table with me. Hence, I came up with the idea to help 50 women achieve their Certified Beer Server status. Instead of simply asking for donations, I decided to create a t-shirt and sell it as apart of a campaign. That way, people got the opportunity to donate and support a good cause, while also receiving something tangible. I came up with the t-shirt design based off of a post I had wrote a few weeks earlier about building more bridges in the beer community and eliminating barriers. You can read that post here:
This video also goes into more of the WHY behind this initiative and why I started.
The Cicerone organization reached out to me on day 1 to match my 50 exams with 50 more exams. This enabled me to double my impact and help even more women pursue their Certified Beer Server exam. To say I was THRILLED was an understatement. Check out this video when I made the announcement.
On day 2, I realized that not only would I meet my goal, I would EXCEED it. When I realized this, I decided that this was actually a good thing. This would provide us with the opportunity to not only help buy the exam for these women but also buy resources like books and other materials to help them study. Check out this video to hear more.
On day 3, I was almost speechless. Not only did I exceed my goal, people were still donating and I was featured on TWO news stations. Check out those videos, along with some updates below.
WCNC Charlotte: www.wcnc.com/article/life/heartwarming/charlotte-black-beer-chick-helping-fund-beer-certifications-for-100-minority-women/275-6a21bf4c-965e-4d2a-a77a-d846c7864890
âSpectrum News: spectrumlocalnews.com/nc/charlotte/news/2020/07/24/n-c--woman-aiming-to-create-diversity-in-craft-beer-industry-?cid=share_clip
!Yesterday while listening to the @thebrotheratthebar "Pass the Drink" podcast, @afro.beer.chick said something that I really think should resonate with us all.
“If you’re not willing to put your platform on the line for truth, —you’re just a waste of space at this moment.” – Afrobeerchick
I’ve been posting a lot more than “just beer” recently, and I think it’s important to understand why. “Beer Chick LLC” has always been about so much MORE than “just beer”. If I stopped drinking beer tomorrow, the sense of “community” that I feel when I walk into breweries wouldn’t simply disappear with me.
The environments you and I create in the taprooms, the delicious beer you and I consume, and the courageous conversations you and I are having at this very moment MATTER so much.
This “beer” has been “creating community” for years, so why should that stop now? Now, more than ever, we have a unique opportunity to be a part of history; because what we are seeing and experiencing, should have long ago been put in history books. Racism and hatred of any kind at this point should be a figment of our imagination. It should not exist. It should not be real.
Now is the time to yield “space” to those people who have not always had an opportunity to be “heard”.
Now is the time to listen to those who “speak up”.
Now is NOT the time to simply be quiet and “wait” for others to do the work that we must “ALL” do.
I don’t know about you, but I refuse to be a “waste of space” at this moment.
Now is the time, more than ever, to continue to build BRIDGES and eliminate BARRIERS.
Beer is the vehicle driving us across the bridge to connect with others and change our communities.
It’s not “Just Beer” and it’s won’t EVER be “Just Beer” for me. Light and so much damn LOVE!
When I decided to apply for the NCCBC scholarship, I never in a MILLION years thought I would get it. I knew I wanted to experience it and network and meet other people in the industry, but I also knew I probably couldn’t afford to go on my own. Well guess what? I freaking got a SCHOLARSHIP!
To say this experience was AMAZING is really an understatement. I met so many amazing people across the state of N.C. in the beer industry and once again it felt like a really big family.
As a black woman, I often feel like a unicorn when it comes to the craft beer industry. Even after attending the NC Craft Brewers Conference, I always noticed when I was the only black woman in the room, which was honestly most of the conference. Although it didn’t bother me, because I know I belong there and I don’t need anyone’s approval, I definitely noticed it and someone else even brought it to my attention. Attending this conference made me realize that the ability and the power to make a difference each and every day starts with US. By inviting people to the table that normally wouldn’t have a place to sit, and making them feel welcomed, it helps create a space that everyone feels safe in despite of race, gender, sexuality or anything else. There’s a lot to disagree with in this world, but I would argue that beer brings people together, and that’s the way that it should be. This conference provided me with and opportunity to learn from my peers and others, but it also gave me the courage to continue feeling comfortable being the only “black girl” in the room.
I have been wanting to visit Savannah for a really long time and I finally decided to turn it into a solo trip. Savannah is only about 4 hours from Charlotte,NC, and it’s been a city I’ve had on my list to visit for multiple reasons.
- You can drink in the streets!
- Great Food.
- Awesome history.
- Beautiful River
- You can drink alcohol in the streets!
- Pretty cool breweries.
- Did I mention you can drink LIQUOR in the streets! lol
Once I finally made it to Savannah I was shocked to find out that there weren’t actually many breweries. Of the 6 I knew of, I was able to make it to 3. The 3 I did visit were amazing and the amount of love I received was out of this world!
The first one I hit up was Moon River Brewing because it was close to where I was staying. The environment was amazing and the beer was really good. While there I got to meet one of the head-brewers and the owner and they literally treated me like royalty. One of the cool things about visiting on a Friday is that every Friday the owner will do a toast to everyone in the brewery and literally makes an announcement. Its one of the coolest things and a huge hit among the regulars, and on this day I even got a shout out. Not only is the beer good here, the food is DELICIOUS! I’m pretty sure I ordered one of everything on the appetizer menu and everything was amazing! Especially the chorizo stuffed mushrooms. Best part? The owner was so nice he copped my WHOLE tab. ( I still tipped, and went back the next day.)
*Fav Beer: “Taterlicious” harvest ale. (They put this cinnamon/nut stuff on the rim that is so good! )
The next place I decided to visit was Service Brewing. I was also able to meet one of the owners there, try a bunch of beer, as well as, go home with a bunch of beer. ( Perks of being a brewer and beer connoisseur) The best thing about this place was the fact it is Veteran Owned and they constantly give back to people who served our country. The space was incredible and HUGE and I even got a tour of the brewery where a event was taking place. The owner talked to me a little about there brewing operation and was overall a really nice guy. He gave me free beer so he is def a friend in my book!
*Fav Beer: “Armistice” juicy IPA
Last stop on the Savannah brewery tour was Two Tides Brewing and I really enjoyed this brewery because it was the first place that actually had SOURS on the menu. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good IPA, but every now and then I want something different and Two Tides has some amazing sours. What made this place even cooler is the fact that it’s literally in a old house. As soon as you walk up the stairs and enter, it kind of throws you off considering that each room, is its only little section. While the main bar sits in the center of the house, there are several different rooms throughout the space that you can sit and enjoy beer in. (Even play pinball.) It really had a comfy and homey feel and it was also close to a really cool “Food Truck” park where you could easily grab food and head back.
*Fav Beer: Any of there sours. I don’t remember the names! Lol
-The Pink House (sit in the lower level or basement)
-The Ordinary Pub
-Moon River Brewing
-Foodtruck park behind “Two Tides Brewing”. It’s like 5 permanent food trucks.
Drinking in the streets:
it’s literally a THING but surprisingly enough, I only did it once. Every restaurant you go to will ask if you want a drink “to-go” and several of them have “to-go” windows.
Nothing could have prepared me for the AWESOMENESS that was Fresh Fest. Imagine going to a family reunion with people you haven’t seen in a while, and others you’ve never met in your life, yet, by the end of the weekend, you literally feel like you’ve known them your WHOLE LIFE.
That’s what FF 2019 was like. It was the first time I was in a space where the majority of people that drank beer actually looked like me. The connections, the relationships, and the bonds I made with people there were simply incredible. I got to meet people I’ve been “stalking” and “following” on social media for months! Lol I got taste beer and spirits from some amazing black owned breweries and distilleries. And most importantly i got to talk to people about my brand “Beer Chick LLC” and share with them my passion and love for beer!
If you’ve never been to FF, I would definitely put this on your MUST-DO when my comes to beer festivals. As a black women into craft beer, I often times, feel like a unicorn. However, during FF everyone feel as if they belong! While the festival highlights black brewers and individuals in the alcoholic beverage industry, the event itself was actually very diverse which also added to the cozy and warm feel of it all. Celebrating black people in the beer industry is not just something that needs to be done by black and brown people. Pushing for inclusivity and most importantly, diversity in the beer community is work we ALL have to play an active part in. I’m so grateful for those already doing the work and I have committed myself to also being an advocate to continue to stress the importance of this issue.
Side Note: Special shoutout to “The Syndicate” aka my FF beer family I turned up with all weekend! We literally put on one of the LIT-est Bottle Shares ever known to man.
How many people can actually say they went inside of a coolship room and left there mark there forever? I can! Mondays Nights Anniversary Party was INSANE! Imagine some of the most AMAZING High ABV beers you can drink in a HUGE SPACE, with great vibes, good people and INCREDIBLE BEER! That basically sums up my experience. Check out some of my photos.
Podcast Interview: “Only those who will risk going too far, can possibly find out how far one can go. -T. S Eliot
I was invited recently to do my first podcast interview and I was super excited. I know the podcast craze has taken over in the last couple of years, but I unfortunately still hadn’t jumped on the bandwagon. However, when the creator of “Cold Brew Podcast” reached out, to say I was excited was an understatement.
My first thought was, why would he want to talk to me? lol
However, after talking to him and getting started I think I was really a natural and I enjoyed this interview so much. Check it out and leave a comment and tell me what you think. My portion kicks off at 14:16 and runs until about 48:30.
Im talking about:
🍻 Small Batch
🍻Culture at breweries
🍻 Career Goals
🍻 Certified Cicerone
🍻 Untappd Festival
🍻 Freshfest Beerfest
🍻 We are Capsoul
🍻 Rocky Mount Mills
This year for me has been all about traveling to new places and experiencing new things! With that being said, I decided to go to Philadelphia, PA this year for the “Roots Picnic”. I am a huge music junkie so I was really looking forward to seeing the beautiful Ari Lennox perform, getting ratchet with Yung Miami from City Girls, and definitely getting my wind on to Davido!
When I first planned my trip, I had NO IDEA that Philly Beer Week would kick off the weekend I was planning on being their. I definitely believe in divine intervention and I think someone aligned the stars to make this happen! So not only did I get to visit Philly for the first time, but I also got to visit during PHILLY BEER WEEK! While visiting, I didn’t have as much time as I initially thought. My plan wherever I go, is always to see what breweries are in the area. I had asked a bunch of my “beer people” before arriving what I should check out so I had a pretty large list. But I was able to visit a few so check out some pics from Philly.
1st Stop: Love City Brewing - I loved the building that it’s in. I want to say the bartender told me they use to make train parts there and it still has so much of the industrial look and feel. Really cool bar and nice people. I enjoyed the “Surf Beat” fruited IPA. This was the first time I’ve ever heard a IPA called “Fruited” but the citrus fruit additions at the end made this a really easy beer to drink. It cut the hoppiness and bitterness most of us are use to in IPA’s and gave it a really nice flavor.
2nd Stop: Yards Brewing- I'm typically more into the “rugged” brewery tap rooms and this place is huge and feels definitely commercialized. The brewery was really nice and seemed like a cool place to hang out. I didn’t really try anything that “wowed” me, but I got a basic flight and didn’t really get to try some of their others beers. I would pay it a second visit before making my final judgment.
3rd Stop: Dock Street Cannery - This was definitley more my scene and it had a eclectic vibe. My lyft driver was warning me about “the neighborhood” before I got their, but I’m all about being amidst “the people” and especially “my people” so I enjoy this spot. They had live music and a dope vibe. Definitely smaller than the other two. I tried the “Nice Things” cream ale and it was delicious. I loved that the beer was a collaboration brew with a local rapper so he was actually there that night. I also met one of the bartenders who was super cool and dope and even gave me a free can to take home. This is a must go to spot! I also met some dope black girls that drank craft beer and even gave them some swag.
Becoming: “For me, becoming is not about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”- Michelle Obama
This year I judged my first beer competition “Beer Wars” , and going into it, I was really nervous. I had “Kölsch” as the style to judge and prior to having a few on a hot Summer day, I wasn’t that familiar with the history behind the style. However, that changed quickly once me and a Certified BJCP judge sat for over a hour trying different Kölsch from commercial breweries. In the end, it was a great experience, and I think what was most rewarding for me was being the only black woman in the room and still feeling like I BELONGED. I am so excited to try this beer @boldmissybrewery is releasing next week. It’s more than just beer to me. I love beer and I think Kölsch is very refreshing this time of year, but I think the timing of this release and the woman that inspired it, couldn’t be more perfect. I am BECOMING! ....Becoming the woman I want to be, but MOST IMPORTANTLY a woman I can be PROUD OF! Thank you for this Bold Missy. Thank you for this full circle divine intervention in my life that confirms I BELONG.
There is so much more in store for me. So not only am I BECOMING, I’m COMING for everything I’m working hard for! Kudos to all of you BAD ASS WOMEN showing UP and showing OUT in the craft beer community. I look up to ALL of YOU! - BlackBeerChick
I was dreading taking the Cicerone Beer Server test since I failed the first two times without studying and I failed a 3rd time with studying (not enough).
Well on May 8th, I said fuck this! (Excuse the language—lol) I had a pep talk with myself and got out of my head and was able to pass the test.
It’s small on my list of bigger goals like becoming a Certified Cicerone. But it’s a stepping stone. Level 1 is complete.