Startup Stories: National Black Brewers Association

New associations launch to fill a void in their sector. The National Black Brewers Association tells us what got them started, how they’re succeeding, and what they plan to do next.

Starting point. The craft brewing business accounts for nearly a quarter of the $120 billion beer industry revenue in the U.S.  But of the nearly 10,000 craft brewers in the country, only about 1 percent are Black individuals.

However, a group of Black entrepreneurs are determined to change this dynamic.  At the Annual Craft Brewers Conference last month in Nashville, they announced the establishment of the National Black Brewers Association.

“The launch of the National Black Brewers Association will create a more inclusive and vibrant beer industry by providing black brewers access to the resources, mentorships, and networks needed to thrive,” said Kevin Johnson, founder of NB2A, in a press release.

Early work. The organization is committed to four things: promoting the Black brewing community; increasing the number of African American individuals in the brewing industry at all levels of production, especially ownership and brew-masters; exercising influence by developing and advocating for effective policies; and fostering historical context and legacy surrounding African American influence on brewing in the U.S.

NB2A has also appointed Kevin Asato, a 30-year veteran of the beverage industry, as its first executive director and established a board made up of the most experienced and successful Black brewery owners and brew-masters around the country.

“The launch of the National Black Brewers Association marks an important milestone for the beer industry,” said board member Celeste Beatty, the first Black female brewer in the United States. “I am thrilled to see this organization come to life and am confident that it will serve as a valuable resource and support system for Black brewers across the country.”

Next steps. In addition to last month’s conference in Nashville where NB2A hosted a “Bottle Share” event, the association will be sponsoring special programs at the Barrel & Flow event on August 1 and the People’s Jubilee Beer Fest on October 14.

And according to an article on the Hop Culture website, the association is also organizing a National Black Brewers Day that will be celebrated in 10 locations on October 10. The day will recognize Theodore Mack Sr., as the first African American brewery owner in the country.


Samantha Whitehorne

By Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editor-in-chief of Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!