Nova Scotia

Change is brewing: New collective crafting more space for BIPOC brewers

A new collective is looking to create change within Nova Scotia's brewing industry. The Change is Brewing Collective aims to give people who are underrepresented in the industry a voice, and help those interested in making beer enter the industry.

Collective aims to create more diversity, inclusion in craft beer industry

Shekara Grant, a member of the Change is Brewing Collective, holds up a can of their new Blackberry Freedom pale ale. (Submitted by Shekara Grant)

A new collective of people in the food and craft beverage industry is tapping into ways to make Nova Scotia's brewing industry more diverse and inclusive.

The Change is Brewing Collective aims to give people who are underrepresented in the sector a voice, and help those interested in making beer enter the industry.

"We want to kind of be that voice, and show people that if this is something you're interested in, it's very possible for you to do it," Shekara Grant, a member of the collective, told CBC's Information Morning.

"This is what we're hoping will happen with this initiative: that it'll inspire more people to explore their interests and try their hand at brewing."

Grant said while the art of brewing has deep roots in African culture, it can be difficult for Black brewers to get their foot in the door.

She said it's an issue that extends across the food and beverage industry.

"I've been serving in restaurants since I was 16, and I think this disparity in representation is very obvious, especially when you're constantly the only person that looks like you that's part of those circles," she said.

"To have such little representation is kind of reflective of the greater problems that are within systemic racism."

The collective, in partnership with Halifax's Good Robot Brewing, has released a new pale ale called Blackberry Freedom.

LaMeia Reddick, another member of the collective and a Good Robot employee, said the name comes from the wild blackberries that grow in North Preston, Canada's largest Black community.

While she brought the name to the group, she said everyone has their own meaning for the name.

LaMeia Reddick says the name of the new beer has a different meaning for everyone. (Submitted by LaMeia Reddick)

"It just represents us announcing that we're here as Black brewers, and that we're really excited," Reddick said. "And that blackberries are very yummy anyway."

Half of the proceeds from the Blackberry Freedom beer will be donated to the Blxckhouse, a North Preston-based youth program, and the YMCA on Gottingen Street in Halifax.

Reddick said the beer's flavour is strong and it might take drinkers a bit of time to take it in. She said the grape flavour is more dominant, but it mingles nicely with the blackberry puree used in the brewing process.

"We wanted the flavours to come together boldly, like our fight for freedom," she said.