Tag Archives: craft beer

An Untapped Opportunity: African American Women’s Absence In The Craft Beer Industry


By Della Fain

There was a time when you thought of beer, it was a beverage to accompany you to picnics and ballparks. No one was doing anything innovative or creative with beer. Fast forward to now and crafted beer makes up 98 percent of all breweries in the U.S. This in no small part is due to the support of craft beer lovers. But who are these craft beer lovers?

In an industry that nets 107.6 billion dollars annually a 2014 survey conducted by Neilsen found that African Americans rank a minute 3.7 percent of all craft beer. And of that 3.7 percent, how many are Black women? To quote 702’s song “Where my girls at?” Now do not get me wrong, we are not non- existent and there are Black women in the industry as brewers, bloggers, owners, culture and lifestyle branders, but the numbers are minute. With society and lifestyle brands like Dope & Dank co-founded by a Black woman Beny Ashburn, who advocates diversity in the dank world of craft beer.

But in a decade of sustained growth, the craft industry has largely ignored minorities and in the past, diversity meant white women. And even today it only in a small part means men of color. So, where do we (African American women) fit in?

In 2017, Craftbeer.com listed 8 women in craft beer who are making a mark, and none were Black. No mention of Celeste Beatty, founder of The Harlem Brewing Company, or the fact that her beers are available in 39 Wal-marts across New York. In April of this year The Brewers Association, an organization dedicated to small and independent American brewers, named a Black woman J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham their first diversity ambassador. I tried unsuccessfully to interview Dr. Beckham about what a diversity ambassador does. Hopefully future dialogue about what diversity means in craft beer and what’s missing.

While recently watching a video of Alisa Bowens-Mercado the first African American woman brewing beer in Connecticut canning her own unfiltered lager named Rhythm I noticed she was the only woman of color present in the video. She is quoted as saying she would like to “see more women in the industry, more brewing, more women canning.”

Since craft beer has mainly been a white man’s game and only recently included men of color and even more recently white women, black women have a few hurdles to leap before we can be acknowledged and respected. The predominately boys club has also made it clear that they are not interested in our taste or opinions on beer unless a pair of breasts accompany it. So first we have to overcome sexism seals then race.

A lot of breweries do not even consider African American women as their consumer because Black women are not being seen drinking or purchasing craft beer. When I am in line for a can release I’m one of few women and the only Black woman in line. We do not feel included so we do not show our love for it and our opinion isn’t largely sought after because we aren’t present.

And finally, an issue I’ve seen with my growing presence on social media is lack of support to one another. I see our white counterparts trade, share, follow, repost and support one another on their craft beer journeys, but a huge lack of support amongst each other. Women are often pitted against each other in every facet and culture of life and the craft beer community is no different. I especially see it among black women. I say this having experienced more support, follows, shares, trades and paid appearances through white men. I see black men get together and have a guys weekend of comradery, fellowship and mutual love of craft beer. I know there are Black women who love craft beer, so how about we show the industry what we have to offer it. Cheers Black Women and if you see me, next rounds on me.

Della Fain is an Chitown native Arizona resident. Married mother of 3. She’s also a contributor to Bourbon Zeppelin giving bourbon barrel aged beer reviews. You can follow her on Instagram at @sixfeetofdynamite. 

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Craft Beer 101: Bourbon Zeppelin’s Della Fain Sips And Chats About Suds


Most of us have an early memory or story about our dad or uncle giving us our first taste of beer. Do you remember the first time you had beer of any sort?  If memory serves me, the first time I had a beer was probably the same as everyone else’s first time. A not so strict aunt that yells “it’s okay if she has one sip”. I do recall however that first sip being awful and every sip after that.

Many of us simply are wondering – what exactly qualifies to be considered a craft beer? A craft beer is in fact a brew crafted in a more traditional, non mechanized way. Usually, but not always by a small brew house or microbrewery.

What got you interested in trying out craft beers?  I initially steered clear of all things beer and beer like for most of my adult life. My grandfather and I had a long standing lunch date every birthday at our favorite steakhouse. He ordered beer and I wine. During one of our last lunches together a new hire at the restaurant was an expert at pairing beer with meals and suggested my pop pop try a beer different from his usual. He made it sound so good I followed suit and ordered the same, it was a winter lager. I’ve been hooked ever since.

For those who have a curiosity about craft beers, is there any advice you would give about how to introduce themselves to different beers? Anyone interested in trying out craft beer my suggestion to them would be my suggestion for life – try it all to see what you like and don’t like.

What do you believe are some qualities of a great craft beer? The qualities of a great craft beer for me is all about the layers. Aroma, mouth feel, how well it compliments and draws out the best part of a meal. How stouts can be savory, and sours refreshing. How a porter can satisfy your sweet tooth, and an IPA be the perfect addition to Taco Tuesday.

There are about six African American breweries we have found, but this is certainly underrepresented for the explosion that has occurred in the microbrewery space over the past decade. Why do you think more African Americans are not brewing beers? With the craft beer industry vastly rising and major breweries buying smaller brew houses we’re gonna see less craft in craft beer. So now’s a perfect time for African Americans to throw their hats into the collective breweries. I know a few African American home brewers who really have a love and passion for it. But like anything else they’ll need support from beer drinkers to get their artistry noticed.

What would be your theme music while drinking your favorite beer? Anything by Nujabes. 

Editor’s Note: Check out the album Modal Soul by Nujabes. Be sure you are having a cold one when you do and always drink responsibly.

Della Fain is an Chitown native Arizona resident. Married mother of 3. She’s also a contributor to Bourbon Zeppelin giving bourbon barrel aged beer reviews. You can follow her on Instagram at @sixfeetofdynamite.