Black-owned brewery in Brooklyn tackles diversity issues

During American Craft Beer Week, people across the country are encouraged to support their local breweries. but many in the industry say there's still a long way to go when it comes to diversity. So one of New York's few Black-owned craft breweries is working to change the conversation and draw in a diverse clientele.

Black-owned brewery ownership represents just 1% of the country's industry, according to the Brewers Association.

"It's safe to say the beer and craft industry are not especially bastions of racial and gender diversity," said Kate Bernot, a journalist who covers craft beer and spirits.

Christopher Gandsy, the owner of Dale View Biscuits and Beer in Brooklyn, agrees. His business is just one of a handful of Black-owned breweries in New York City. He's brought a unique concept to the community by baking biscuits and crafting beer.

Gandsy said that some people don't have the money to start a business or know the process to secure funding.

"It's a money thing," Gandsy said. "Opening up a brewery can be very expensive — the equipment and the cost of buildout." 

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Bernot said there are additional factors why the industry lacks diversity in both ownership and consumers.

"It comes from how craft beer [was] marketed in the past and how that marketing leaves out consumers of color," Bernot said. "It also comes from the attitude around where craft breweries are located, often in gentrified neighborhoods, and the higher cost associated [with] craft beer."

Gandsy's business is located in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, which has a big Caribbean community. So he has been trying out new beers that feature herbs and flavors to attract new customers.

This fall, Gandsy plans on launching a new project that looks to expose people of color to the beer industry in an effort to help diversify it.