Beyond the Brew: Celebrating Black History Month at your Brewery
From the CCBA Inclusion & Anti-Discrimination Committee
Today marks the start of Black History Month in Canada. Black History Month recognizes the achievements and contributions of Black Canadians in their communities throughout history. The theme for Black History Month 2022 is February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day.
Craft breweries are a place where people come together and serve as community hubs. After all, there’s nothing like a fresh pint of local craft beer to bring people together! As community spaces, craft breweries have a unique opportunity to serve as inclusivity leaders. The initiatives that take place in our taprooms can have a ripple effect in our communities. As we turn the calendar to February and mark the start of Black History Month, the CCBA Inclusion & Anti-Discrimination Committee encourages you to consider how your efforts move beyond performative action and realize this year’s theme: today and every day.
The list below includes some ideas of how your brewery can participate in Black History Month, but we encourage all breweries to move beyond this list and ask themselves how they can celebrate Black History Month not only today, but every day. Are your actions celebrating and empowering the Black Canadians, or are they merely an act of tokenism?
Some ways to celebrate Black History Month in your brewery:
1. Host a Black History Month Education Event
Hosting a Black History Month education event for your staff or customers could include paid guest speakers, panel discussions, films etc. Education lays an important foundation for action. Taking the time to provide resources for staff and customers will help guide future efforts and create deeper understanding.
2. Share Content from Black Members in our Industry
The craft beer industry has a number of incredible Black diversity experts and content creators sharing great content including: Ren Navarro, Dr. J, Blaqandsoul, Brewing Change Collaborative, and Change is Brewing Collective. Use your brewery’s platform to amplify their voices and contribute to positive change in our industry. Likewise, consider purchasing their paid offerings or hiring their consulting services so they can continue doing this important work in our industry.
3. Hire a DEI Consultant to Create an Inclusive Space
Is your brewery an inclusive place to work and visit? While you probably think the answer is yes, creating inclusive spaces goes beyond assuming people feel welcome. DEI consultants can help your business take tangible steps to ensure all feel welcome and safe, helping create spaces that are as diverse as our communities. Some of these steps may include company values statements, signage, statements on job postings, inclusivity training for staff, etc.
4. Support Black Artists & Designers
One of the ways that brewery owners can embrace this year’s theme, today and forever, is to consider opportunities within the beer-making process to support Black-owned businesses. For example, choosing to hire a Black artist or designer for the artwork of your labels or merch could be a long-term change that showcases the work of a local Black artist. Other opportunities could include hosting a pop-up in your taproom with Black-owned businesses, displaying the work of black artists in your spaces or sourcing materials from Black-owned businesses in your community.
5. Participate in the Black is Beautiful Brew
The Black is Beautiful brew is a collaborative effort to raise awareness for the injustices people of colour face daily and raise funds for police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged. Participating breweries are asked to donate 100% of proceeds to a local organization that supports equity and inclusion and commit to the long-term work of equality.
While this list is certainly not exhaustive, we encourage you to use these ideas as a starting point and consider how your brewery can celebrate Black History Month, both today and every day. As an Inclusion & Anti-Disrimination Committee, we urge our fellow brewery-owners to move beyond tokenism and commit to equipping leaders, educating staff and working towards an inclusive industry that celebrates diversity in our spaces.