Owners of the Harris Family Brewery think it’s time to talk about racism—over a beer.
The brewery, in collaboration with Troegs independent Brewery in Hershey, released its “Black is Beautiful” beer today.
“We want people to have conversations, and we want to bring these social injustices to the forefront,” Tim White, one of the three Harris Family owners, said. “I’m glad it jumped into the craft beer world.”
With the national spotlight on racial inequality, the brewery owners wanted to do something.
“We are three black men who experience all of the injustices that you could imagine,” White said.
The Harris Family Brewery is on track to become the first black-owned brewery in Pennsylvania. With the “Black is Beautiful” beer, they hope to raise awareness of an issue personal to them in an industry that is majority white.
The “Black is Beautiful” movement in the craft beer world was started by Weathered Souls Brewing Co. in Texas. Once Harris Family Brewery caught wind of it, they jumped to join.
The partnership with Troegs is the third in a series of collaborations to produce “Black is Beautiful,” each with a different flavor. White said the artwork on the cans show people of color’s skin in a range of shades as a pixelated design.
The beer on tap today at Troegs is a brown lager with a flavor inspired by cornbread. It can be enjoyed in a glass on-site or taken as a four-pack to go, White said. There are about 200 cases of the special edition “Black is Beautiful” beer. This is double the amount as the last two times, which sold out within two to three days, White said.
He attributes the popularity not only to the taste, but also the message on the can.
“I knew we would be busier, but I didn’t expect it to be that busy,” White said. “People that were scared to have this conversation are now empowered to have it.”
Harris Family’s first collaboration was with Philadelphia-based Love City Brewery. The black stout with a hint of coconut sold out in three days. The second time around, they partnered with Camp Hill’s Ever Grain Brewery to create a banana nut bread flavored stout.
For each of their collaborations, all proceeds went to organizations fighting for racial justice. The first raised funds for Black Lives Matter Philadelphia, and the second for the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central PA. Their newest “Black is Beautiful” beer at Troegs will support Harrisburg-based Amiracle4sure, a re-entry program for ex-offenders.
Harris Family Brewery is considering continuing the collaborations on the “Black is Beautiful” beer. White said they may try to partner with a Harrisburg brewery next.
“This is not just a right-now thing,” White said. “From here on out, you will see Black is Beautiful beers in the market.”
Harris Family Brewery owners Shaun Harris, JT Thomas and White have had plans for around six years to manufacture craft beer and open a taproom in their Allison Hill neighborhood.
An opening is now finally in sight.
White said that, within three to four months, the brewery should be operating. Struggling previously with raising funds, that’s not an issue anymore.
Within months, the brewery’s GoFundMe page exploded and reached over $36,800 in donations. People were buying their merchandise, cups, T-shirts and mugs like never before.
“That has blessed us so now we can actually have enough money to open up,” White said.
Harris Family Brewery will operate out of an industrial building at 1721 Holly St. on Allison Hill and focus on wholesale brewing.
In order to open a taproom, White said they need to raise another $30,000 to secure a building and remodel. That is in sight, he said.
Harris Family Brewery and Troegs “Black is Beautiful” beer is available today at Troegs Independent Brewery at 200 East Hershey Park Dr., Hershey. For more information about Harris Family Brewery, visit their website or Facebook page.