This Craft Beer Forces You to Confront White Supremacy

From the people who own craft breweries to those who frequent them, the craft beer scene is interminably, undeniably white. Which is why the North Carolina-based Black Star Line Brewing Company—one of the first black, queer and female-owned and operated craft breweries in America—is such a breath of fresh air.

Named after legendary black nationalist and Pan-Africanist writer Marcus Garvey’s historic shipping line, designed to enable the flow of both money and people back to and through Africa, Black Star Line Brewing is a craft brewery that’s unmistakably political in an industry that’s all too often not. And that’s nearly as refreshing as the queer-farmed, proprietary blend of hops they use for their brews.

“We don’t just see liquor and libations as a way to relax and have fun,” said Black Star Line’s founder, L.A. McCrae. “We see it as a viable pathway out of poverty for our community.”

McRae doesn’t just mean that literally, in terms of creating jobs and income for black people. She’s also speaking to the power that comes from confronting the whitewashing of artisanal and craft cultures writ large, and how she’s increasing awareness about African Americans’ largely obscured history in Southern and Appalachian spirits-making culture.