Scoop: Black Is Beautiful creator to open Charlotte brewery and incubator

Scoop: Black Is Beautiful creator to open Charlotte brewery and incubator
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Weathered Souls Brewing Co. — a Texas-based brewery that’s co-owned by the founder of the Black is Beautiful initiative that swept the country in 2020 — will open a Charlotte location next year.

  • On top of that, Marcus Baskerville plans to use the Clanton Road facility as the home for an incubation program that gives traditionally underrepresented people a start along the road to a career in craft brewing.

Why it matters: Charlotte, a city with dozens of breweries, hasn’t had a Black-owned business making and selling beer since Three Spirits closed in 2019. Now it will have a brewery co-owned by Baskerville, who has a national reputation for his work in diversity and inclusion.

  • And the city will be home to his program that helps put more Black owners and brewers in the industry.
weathered souls marcus baskerville

From left to right: Mike Holt (owner), Marcus Baskerville (Co-founder), Marissa Memolo (general manager). Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Background: Co-founders Baskerville and Mike Holt opened Weathered Souls in San Antonio, Texas, in 2016. It quickly grew in popularity and has since earned several accolades, including “The Best Craft Brewery in the Country” by Hop Culture Magazine.

  • Of note: Baskerville and Holt say that Charlotte was always part of the plan. They even considered the Queen City as the first home for the brewery before settling on San Antonio.

Separately, Baskerville launched the Black is Beautiful initiative in the summer of 2020, following the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. It quickly gained momentum at breweries across the country and helped raise more than $2 million for organizations that support equity and inclusion.

What’s next: Baskerville plans to turn Black is Beautiful into the Harriet Baskerville Incubation program, named after his grandmother, who used to brew during prohibition.

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  • Harriet stopped brewing because someone fell off her roof and she didn’t want to go to jail. Baskerville didn’t learn this story until he started brewing a few years ago. “I’m glad to pick up where she left off,” he says.
Harriet Baskerville Weathered Souls

“I thought it was important to honor her,” said Baskerville of his grandmother, who is a pillar of her community in Compton, CA. Photo: Courtesy of Marcus Baskerville

The incubation program will be 100% based in Charlotte, Baskerville tells me. It’ll give minorities and women access to equipment and information about beer that they normally wouldn’t have access to, he says.

By the numbers: Out of the nearly 8,500 breweries in the U.S., only 12% are owned by people of color. Baskerville hopes the incubation program will change that.

As for Weathered Souls, Urban MVMNT in South End is making room for the new brewery. Stu Brauer, who owns the space, says this was “always part of the plan.”

Urban Movement South End

Urban MVMNT owner, Stu Brauer, says they originally designed the space similarly to Unknown Brewing. Photo: Emma Way/Axios

They plan to open in April 2022.

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