Pouring up Black excellence!
A Texas couple is preparing to open Austin’s first Black-owned Brewery, Eater reports.
Shannon Harris and his wife Tiana are the co-owners of a newly budding business endeavor, Urban Jungle Brewing. The new brewery will focus not just on great spirits but also serve as a bakery, farm, and horse rescue, making history as the first Black-owned brewery in the city.
Harris is a beer enthusiast who really began to dive into the industry just a half-decade ago. Focusing primarily on developing beers in partnership with breweries worldwide from California to Africa, Harris has carved out a pretty awesome niche for himself.
From his Black Is Beautiful beer with Cedar Park’s Red Horn Brewing, to showcasing at one of the few craft beer festivals for Black people, Fresh Fest Beer Festival in Maryland, Harris is blazing a trail of inclusion for Black beer lovers across the globe. He even helped develop a diversity and inclusion program for BIPOC in the industry in partnership with Seattle’s Fremont Brewing, set to launch next year.
Out of the 6,400 breweries across the country, only 63 are Black-owned, making up less than one percent. In Texas, there is only one, the Weathered Souls brewery located in San Antonio. It was there where Harris learned how to brew, from friend and Weathered Souls’ owner Marcus Baskerville. Baskerville was responsible for the national “Black Is Beautiful” campaign, where breweries collaborated on unique homemade brews to raise money for organizations focused on police reform.
“A Black person in craft beer, whether consumer or homebrewing, is scarce. Especially here in Texas...to talk about being diverse and inclusive is trying to say that you got a unicorn from a mile away," Harris said. "It’s just nonexistent. It is surprising how many breweries don’t even realize how many people of color, especially Black people, come to their taprooms to spend money that helps keep their lights on...That’s why I’m trying to break that barrier and knock down walls.”
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🚨 New Homebrew Alert 🚨 “May I Have Samoa, Please?!” is a homebrewed imperial porter that had a few boxes of Samoa cookies added to the mash. It was later conditioned on caramel, fudge & toasted coconuts which basically made one of my favorite and most addicting cookies enjoyable by alcohol liquid form 😊 #UrbanJungleBrew
Harris and his wife have launched a Kickstarter to help reach their goal, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to local organizations combating social and racial injustices.
When Urban Jungle Brewing officially launches, Harris plans to oversee all brewing. At the same time, his wife will focus on the bakery side, acquiring land that can double as farm and horse rescue, offering educational programming geared towards youth and BIPOC.
“It’s a team effort,” says Harris, noting his wife’s extensive farming experience. “There’s not that many women in the brewing industry [either]," he said. "We can bring something that’s different, new, and groundbreaking back to the community. We will be that brewery that welcomes you with open arms."
Photo Courtesy of Urban Jungle Brewing