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Black Is Beautiful: Building Bridges With Beer

Black is Beautiful beer
Courtesy of Marcus Baskerville
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From Texas Standard:

Beer collaborations are pretty common. Brewers like to team up and get creative with their recipes. But a project from a San Antonio brewer has taken that idea to new heights, and it's accomplishing more than just selling beer.

Marcus Baskerville is the founder and head brewer at Weathered Souls Brewing Company. He created the Black Is Beautiful Stout, and its popularity has exceeded his expectations. The beer is now available in many different forms across the United States and in more than 20 countries. Baskerville told Texas Standard that the Black is Beautiful project began June 1. There are now more than 1,150 breweries involved.

"My original goal was actually set at 250 breweries," Baskerville said. 

The project began because of the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and the protests that followed. 

"Having young daughters myself, and looking back at the community that they're going to grow up in, basically I wanted to find a way to use my platform to contribute, to give back," Baskerville said. 

Baskerville provided the Black is Beautiful Stout recipe to brewers who wanted it, and who would agree to give all proceeds from selling the brew to groups that support inclusion and equality. 

"We provided a base stout recipe that's really easy to follow for breweries that don't particularly brew stouts, and then for those that wanted to be creative … we left a creative platform open for breweries to add their own ingredients, adjuncts and get creative with the recipe," Baskerville said.

Stout beers are typically dark, but their color can range, as Baskerville said, "from a milk chocolate brown to the deepest colors of black. And you look at some of the current situations that are going on in our society, and we just literally wanted to make that statement that 'Black is beautiful.'"

Though there are 350 breweries in Texas, Baskerville is the only Black head brewer and brewery owner. Few breweries around the United States are Black-owned, he said. He credits the brewers who have brewed versions of Black Is Beautiful as a positive sign. 

"The brewing industry does have the opportunity to be inclusive," he said.

Baskerville said he hopes more breweries will embrace Black Is Beautiful, especially once business begins to return to normal after the pandemic.

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