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Madison breweries take part in ‘Black is Beautiful’ beer campaign

Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 7:10 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - ‘Black is Beautiful’ beer is hitting the shelves in Madison. The initiative is bringing breweries from around the world together, including several in Madison.

A Texas brewery started the campaign. The founder is asking those who participate to donate proceeds to local foundations that support police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged, choose a local organization that supports equality and inclusion and commit to the long-term work of equality.

“The label design produced by the host brewery, that 972 breweries around the world are going to be using, show the hues, the gradients of people of color,” said Delta Beer Lab Chief Beer Officer Pio (Tim) Piotrowski.

17 breweries in Wisconsin are participating, including Delta Beer Lab, Herbiery and Giant Jones Brewing Co. donating to local organization Freedom Inc. The campaign provides a base recipe for the beer, designed to be a moderately high abv. stout to showcase the different shades of black. However, many breweries are putting their own twist to make each brew slightly different.

“By supporting these grass roots organizations, as an individual brewery and knowing that there is other individual breweries across the country and even the world supporting their own local organization, it seemed a much better way of supporting real change,” said Nick Ryan, owner of Herbiery.

While Delta Beer Lab and Herbiery are still working to finish their brews, co-owner of Giant Jones Brewing, Jessica Jones said theirs is already available at their store or at local retail.

“This is important work, and we all need to be moving on it, even when we are having beer,” Jones said.

In response to the campaign, representatives with Freedom Inc. sent NBC15 a statement that read in part:

“A Black man named Marcus Baskerville started the “Black is Beautiful” initiative to prompt fellow beer makers to take a stand against police brutality and work towards lasting social justice in their communities. Freedom Inc greatly appreciates local breweries like Delta Beer Lab for supporting the cause for Black liberation here in Madison,” said Mahnker Dahnweih, the groups director of civic engagement.

Dahnweih said on Monday, the group will kick off ‘Fund the Movement,' highlighting local Black organizations and businesses.

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