Black-owned Chicago brewery wins national award
Chicago's Funkytown Brewery has won a national competition giving its founders access to mentorship, networking and funding from Samuel Adams Brewing.
Why it matters: Funkytown Brewery's founders wants to make craft beer more accessible to women and Black people, demographics they say haven't always been top of mind for brewers.
What they're saying: "We were always the only Black people coming to Black events, birthdays, barbecues with craft beer, and we just knew there was a lane here," co-founder Rich Bloomfield tells Axios.
Backstory: Bloomfield, Zack Day and Greg Williams grew up together in Oak Park and started brewing beer in Day's parents' garage in 2017.
- Williams says after several years of experimenting with their brews, Pilot Project Brewing in Logan Square started serving Funkytown's beer.
- Funkytown is now sold at over 600 locations across Chicagoland and Wisconsin, including Wrigley Field, Guaranteed Rate Field and the United Center.
Between the lines: The Samuel Adams competition considers not only a beer's quality, but also the brewer's business culture and community involvement.
- "We've partnered with NFTE, which is an organization that focuses on high schoolers that are into entrepreneurship," Bloomfield tells Axios. "We're able to highlight and be like a turnstile for people that want to give back to the community but don't necessarily know how."
What’s next: Bloomfield, Day and Williams will create a beer with brewers at Samuel Adams' Boston headquarters to showcase at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver this September.
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