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19 thoughts on “Why the lack of diversity in Asheville’s breweries?

  1. Jason Reed

    Pretty sure this is not an Asheville specific issue but an issue with the Craft Brewing Industry as a whole. NPR has a story titled, “Why Aren’t There More People Of Color In Craft Brewing?” from September of 2013.

  2. boatrocker

    Sept 25, 2014 AD 3:28pm
    Maybe the lack of diversity is due to other groups finding it silly to obsess over fancy beer?
    The website “Stuff White People Like” pokes fun at many things- #23 is ‘microbreweries’. #101 by the way is ‘being offended’.

  3. This not only applies to brewing companies in Asheville it also is a question that applies to bars, restaurants and almost all businesses in the downtown Asheville area. The simple answer is institutional racism and lack of concern about diversity in hiring from the patrons of these businesses.

  4. John

    Why don’t people of color open their own businesses. They can then hire whoever they wish.

  5. Norman

    Asheville’s reputation for “diversity” is overstated. If you are referring to race the 2010 Census had the African American population at about 13% of the overall population of the city. In 2000 it was 17% and in 1990 around 20%. The population moving here is disproportionally white and thus the black population percentage shrinks via dilution and displacement (cost of living increases.) Today the white population of the city is about 80% and that will increase as these trends continue. People may claim to love Asheville’s “diversity” but increasingly that seems to mean there are people here with nose rings AND people here with tongue rings.

  6. Han winogrond

    Perhaps a brewery might invite youth to apprentice. We used to have a program for at risk youth as a part of our bicycle team. We even got financing from the Boulder PD. Exposing black youth to craft brewing might sow seeds for a black owned brewery in the future?

    • Craig Randolph

      no, what will entice black youth to open and produce craft beer breweries is a desire among someone in the young black community to open up and sell/produce craft beers.

      • James Johnson

        Craig, your logic is absurd.

        If few to no one in the minority communities is interested in craft beer and there’s no demand among those communities for craft beer, then who do you expect to be motivated to open any breweries?

        You have to get some sort of initial interest generated and Han’s idea is actually a pretty good one, in that respect.

        The more people you get interested while they’re younger and still able to influence more easily, the more likely that the seed of interest will grow and inspire people into wanting to try their hand at starting their own home brewing and eventually starting their own brewery as well as getting the community behind that brewery.

        • Craig Randolph

          Ha! You answered your own question! If few to no one in the minority communities is interested in craft beers, and there’s no demand among those communities for craft beer, then what are you whining about? Last craft beer establishment I visited, they only checked my I.D. to assure I was of legal age,skin color wasn’t an issue. You want to produce/drink craft beer produced by someone in a minority community,have at it!There are far more important issues to address than whether someone who made/sold me a craft beer is a member of a minority community.

    • Tim Courtney

      I think you’d have an issue pitching “come work at a facility that makes alcohol” as a good program for “at-risk youth.” You generally want those kids to stay away from alcohol.
      Are there any historically black colleges in the area? Maybe offer internships to their chem or bio students.

  7. Wayne

    I visit local breweries frequently. There is a lack of racial diversity in patrons as well as staff. I don’t think “institutional racism” is the cause. More likely where folks choose to apply for employment and hang out.

  8. Fred Clauhs

    If I am sipping on a great beer, why would I be concerned about the identity of the server? Other than fulfillment of quotas what value does perceived diversity bring?

      • Margaret Williams

        Jonathan, please stick to discussing ideas — criticize the ideas, not the people (including fellow commenters).

  9. Sean

    Because black people don’t like beer. Do you think blacks give a damn about the percentage of white people at their establishments?

  10. indy499

    Odd, I interacted with 4 or 5 bartenders over the past few days, and with 1 (at Oskar Blues) being black, I found blacks overrepresented. I could not care less who serves the beer if they are knowledgeable and have a bit of personality.

  11. Jonathan Wainscott

    Because craft beer is a super white industry itself, and asheville is a super white town? Good lord someone get me a sociologist to explain this bizzare situation….

  12. Seriously

    Perhaps craft beer just isn’t a huge interest of the local African American community? If they are looking for inspiration perhaps I could recommend Garrett Oliver who is a VERY successful brewmaster for Brooklyn Brewery and coincidentally happens to be African American: http://brooklynbrewery.com/about/the-brewmaster I don’t really think this is a race issue as much as it is who takes in interest in different fields. It’s like music…sure there are genres of music that seem to be produced and preformed primarily by one group of people, but all are welcome in all genres in my opinion and as the genre grows in interest the diversity seems to grow as well.

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