Two local breweries and other industry insiders team up to launch The Mosaic State Brewers Collective – a program that promotes diversity
The stark lack of diversity in the beer industry has been a topic of conversation for some time now. There’s been a lot of talk, but not much action. Embracing diversity is not simply a matter of appearances; rather, increasing diversity will make the beer industry better and stronger.
Two Seattle-area breweries, along with local brewing industry leaders, have teamed up to create a mentorship program that aims to address the issue of diversity in the beer biz. Grace Robbings of Reuben’s Brews and Dreux Dillingham of Métier Brewing Company drove the foundation of The Mosaic State Brewers Collective, which will work to develop future beer industry leaders who are more reflective of our nation’s diversity.
Reuben’s Brews and Métier Brewing Company recently teamed up to create a beer to generate awareness of, and funds for, the new program. Ombili IPA hits the streets tomorrow (March 25th).
Go Far, Go Together
There’s a well-known African proverb at the core of what The Mosaic Brewers Collective aims to accomplish: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
The Mosaic State Brewers Collective was born out of the idea that the beer industry will benefit by fostering and encouraging diversity. Launching this summer, this mentorship program will offer insightful curriculum, practical experience, and authentic mentorship that will open opportunities for historically underrepresented groups. Ultimately, this will enrich the culture and broaden the perspective of the brewing industry, better representing the diverse community of which it is an essential part.
How Stark is Stark?
Stark is an appropriate term to describe the lack of diversity, though perhaps a bit under-descriptive. According to a 2019 report from the Brewers Association, 88 percent of the people who own craft breweries are white while only 4 percent are American Indian or Alaska Native, 2 percent are Asian, 2 percent are Hispanic, and just 1 percent are Black.
Obviously, those numbers are not at all representative of the population that the craft beer industry serves. Not even close. Fostering greater diversity within the industry will help the industry grow and improve. That is one of the primary reasons people inside and outside the industry have called for initiatives like The Mosaic State Brewer Collective.
According to Dr. J Jackson-Beckham, the Equity And Inclusion Partner for the Brewers Association, “Informal mentorship has long played an important role in the craft brewing industry. Formalizing mentoring relationships will help us to strategically remove barriers to access and advancement and extend opportunities to underrepresented and marginalized groups.”
Dr. Jackson-Beckham (she/her/Dr.) is also Principal of Crafted For All, LLC a consultancy that helps craft beverage organizations become more inclusive, equitable, and just.
According to Drew Dillingham, “Seeing yourself reflected in the work you choose to do and having peers or mentors to lean on in order to grow is an important part of being successful. It’s something I didn’t have early on in my own career and being able to provide that opportunity as an entry point for the future leaders of this industry is what we are passionate about. Métier Brewing Company is proud to collaborate with Reuben’s to create a more inclusive craft beer community for all.”
Beginning in June of 2021, and limited to just 10 participants, The Mosaic State Brewers Collective’s program will take place over the course of what the organizers describe as three distinct levels:
- Do I have a place the industry?
- Where is my place in the industry?
- How can I become a leader in the industry?
In addition to Grace Robbings and Dreux Dillingham, participants will receive invaluable guidance from an impressive group of mentors selected from each sector of the beer community and adjacent retail and manufacturing businesses.
- Annie Johnson, Brewmaster and Pink Books Society Leader
- Adam Robbings, Reuben’s Brews Co-Founder
- Robyn Schumacher, Stoup Brewing Co-Founder/Brewer
- Manny Chao, Georgetown Brewing Co-Founder
- Rodney Hines, Métier Brewing CEO
- Several other industry leaders
The curriculum will also offer hands-on experience covering a number of important topics, like recipe design and brewing, cellaring, packaging, marketing, and sales.
The final level focuses on business planning and management skills. The program will conduct it in partnership with the Consulting and Business Development Center at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.
Complete details on the curriculum and mentors can be found at https://reubensbrews.com/foundation/msbc.
To increase awareness of, and raise funds for, The Mosaic State Brewers Collective, Reuben’s Brews and Métier Brewing teamed up to create Ombili IPA. The beer is described as a West Coast IPA, with the citrusy character of tangerine, brewed with Citra, Sabro, and Azacca hops.
All of the proceeds from the sale of Ombili IPA support the Mosaic State Brewers Collective. The production of the beer was made possible by generous donations from Gambrinus Malting, Skagit Valley Malting, Haas, Roy Farms, and the Kennedy Group.
Ombili IPA will be available starting Thursday, March 25th at the Reuben’s Taproom in Seattle and Métier Brewing’s Beer Hall in Woodinville. Thereafter, it will make its way into distribution around the Pacific Northwest.
The artwork adorning the Ombili IPA cans was inspired by the vibrant fabrics used by the people of Namibia, where Grace Robbings served as a volunteer teacher with the Peace Corps.
“In the local Oshiwambo dialect of the area of northern Namibia where I lived and worked, ‘Ombili’ means peace, harmony and all good things,” Grace explains. “It was so imbued in all interactions that the word came to be used in greetings and farewells, similar to how ‘Aloha’ is used. Dreux and I chose this name because the power of peace and reconciliation is a driving force of the work we’re doing through the Mosaic State Brewers Collective.”
Reuben’s Brews and Métier Brewing invite anyone who is interested in the program to visit reubensbrews.com/foundation/msbc for more details about the program and to submit an application to get involved.