Saugatuck Brewing Co. is one of 13 craft breweries in the U.S. supporting the Black is Beautiful initiative with the rollout of a new beer that will be sold locally.
The brewery recently teamed up with Black is Beautiful for the release of its new Black is Beautiful American Stout, launching at Walmart in participating Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids-area stores for a limited time.
Started in 2020 by Marcus Baskerville, head brewer and co-owner of Weathered Souls Brewing Co. in San Antonio, Texas, the Black is Beautiful initiative was born of a desire for greater diversity and accessibility in the craft beer industry.
“A Black man in brewing is an anomaly — there are fewer than 70 Black-owned breweries in the U.S.,” Baskerville said.
Saugatuck Brewing is one of 13 craft breweries in the U.S. that’s supporting the initiative this year by brewing their own batches of the Black is Beautiful Stout and supplying it to a combined 600-plus Walmart stores in 21 states.
Saugatuck created its own Black is Beautiful American Stout, which will be launching at Walmart stores across the Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids area through April 30. The new stout features notes of fresh brewed coffee; subtly sweet chocolate; and rich, “roasty” malts.
During the beer’s limited run, Saugatuck will donate 10% of its proceeds from the product to the Harriet Baskerville Incubation Program, named after Baskerville’s grandmother, who was a Prohibition-era brewing pioneer. The program provides opportunities for people of color and women — traditionally underrepresented in the brewing industry — by creating access to brewing education, guest seminars, practices and more, as well as by helping minority entrepreneurs who don’t yet have the financial means to open a brick-and-mortar location.
The Black is Beautiful beer initiative has garnered national attention, with a version of the Black is Beautiful Stout premiering last month as the latest addition to the “Up From the People: Protest & Change in DC” exhibit at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C.