For The Culture Brewing Company, a majority African-American-owned brewery, is perhaps Houston’s first to be owned by brewers of color.
Co-founders Jonathan Brown and Carl Roaches Jr. have been serving their brews at pop-ups around town — mostly alumni tailgates, private events, and weddings — for the past six months, and now they’re looking to buy a permanent location inside the loop. They’re planning to open their forthcoming taproom and brewery that uses a 15-barrel brewing system sometime in 2019 with three of their co-owners, all men of color.
Brown and Roaches tell Eater that their home brewing kicked into high gear around the time Hurricane Harvey ravaged Houston. “We were goofing off in the kitchen, underestimating the storm,” Roaches remembers. “We decided with all the time we were spending on this, we should monetize it instead of just doing it as a hobby, with the goal of increasing diversity in the craft beer scene.” For the pop-ups, the guys purchased a 15-gallon half-barrel system and have been giving away their brews for free at events, which include a blonde ale, hibiscus and elder flower ale, brown ale, strong golden ale, IPA, and milk porter.
Houston’s craft beer landscape has been largely dominated by white males, as anyone who has spent much time around breweries can attest. According to Roaches’ research, it’s not only the brewers that are primarily white males, craft beer buyers are mostly white and male also. Of craft beer drinkers, 85 percent are caucasian, with a remaining 15 percent being people of color, according to numbers published by the Brewers Association for Small and Independent Craft Brewers. The same report also states that 70 percent of craft beer drinkers are male.
“We saw a huge missed opportunity for people who may not have been exposed to beer as a beverage of choice,” Roaches explains. “We’re trying to get our wives on board, because it’s really important to increase outreach to women as well.” He points out that, ironically, women were some of the first brewmasters and brewers when beer making became industrialized “because of their intensity of smell and taste.”
Beer lovers can follow For The Culture Brewing on social media to keep track of when and where the next pop-ups will be held. Stay tuned to Eater for more information on their forthcoming permanent location.
- Shifting Demographics Among Craft Drinkers [Brewers Association]