VIDEO: Increasing diversity & inclusion in the craft beer community

A discussion about access, education, and opportunities in the craft beer community.

by Aadam Soorma
July 13, 2020

One of the many events we look forward to each summer is the Fresh Fest Beer Festival. Fresh Fest is America’s first-ever, annual beer festival that celebrates the accomplishments of Black people and people of color in the beer industry. Due to COVID-19, Fresh Fest 2020 is moving online. You can learn more about Fresh Fest Digi Fest here.

Very Local Very Fresh Panel Discussion

One year ago this week, Very Local teamed up with the folks at Fresh Fest Beer Festival on a collaborative event in the Hill District. Very Local, Very Fresh: Meeting The People Where They’re At was a panel discussion and (beer) tasting event focused on access, education, and opportunities in the craft beer community.

With Fresh Fest Digi Fest coming up in August, and because this is an ever-important topic, we dug through our video footage so we could share some of this panel discussion with you.

The event was open to beer enthusiasts of all levels and beer drinkers who enjoy all types of drinks. The Very Local, Very Fresh concept produced conversations and moments that one might not expect at an event focused on craft beer.

By hearing from women and people of color who work in the beer industry, attendees’ takeaways from the event were focused on issues of diversity, inclusion and access. A historically white, male industry, craft beer enthusiasts are aware of the long road ahead to ensure that their part of the food & beverage community does more to welcome people of color, both as guests and as potential job-seekers.

Very Local, Very Fresh panelists:

The panel was moderated by Briana L. White of Breelicious Bites & the New Pittsburgh Courier.

What is Fresh Fest Beer Fest?

Fresh Fest is America’s first-ever, annual beer festival that celebrates the accomplishments of Black people and people of color in the beer industry.

By spotlighting Black-owned breweries from across the United States, as well as beers created through collaborations between Black artists and entrepreneurs and breweries, Fresh Fest has grown year-over-year since its debut in 2018.

Fresh Fest was recently named runner-up for America’s top beer festival by USA Today. Both the 2018 and 2019 Fresh Fest beer festivals were held at Nova Place, in the northside of Pittsburgh. Due to the global pandemic, Fresh Fest 2020 will be a virtual festival, livestreamed from the Allentown neighborhood of Pittsburgh in August.

Interested in learning more about Pittsburgh’s beer scene?

Take a listen to some of these interviews from our podcast.

🎥 Credits: This video was shot and edited by Benton Palermo with additional footage from Dylan White.

In 2012, Aadam moved to Pittsburgh. He's currently parked (sans chair) in Lawrenceville and plans to stay a while. On the weekends, you'll find him driving a small green bus (Porter Tours) as he leads tours at local breweries. Got a fun story idea? DMs are open: @asoorma.

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