Hampton Roads breweries come together to support racial equality with ‘Black is Beautiful’ initiative


HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Breweries across the country, including here in Hampton Roads, are coming together to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

A new beer is hitting taps in an effort to raise awareness and money in the fight against racial injustice.

“We can’t heal until Black lives matter,” said Tom Wilder, with Young Veterans Brewing Co. in Virginia Beach.

The Black is Beautiful initiative originated from Weathered Souls, a craft brewery in Texas.

They’re asking the craft beer industry to raise a glass to inclusion and equality for the Black community by brewing a special stout.

One hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to local organizations that support police reform and legal defense for anyone experiencing injustice.

“I thought it was a no brainer — let’s just jump on board with this,” said Kevin O’Connor, with O’Connor Brewing Co. in Norfolk.

O’Connor said what’s happening has sparked a lot of conversation in the Park Place community where they’re located.

“I want to be on the right side of history,” he said.

Wilder is joining the cause, too. He hopes the initiative will create more meaningful dialogue toward change.

“Stop commenting on Facebook and stop trolling each other and come together as one and remember that we are all in this together,” Wilder said. ”Across the table, eye-to-eye, face-to-face is a place where you can do that.”

Both brewers said it’s a small step but one that can pave a path for a better future.

“I think it’s something that all entrepreneurs should put force behind it and be a part of doing something that’s right in the community — not just for the money,” O’Connor said.

Both O’Connor Brewing Co. and Young Veterans Brewing Co. said they’ll donate their proceeds to the Urban League of Hampton Roads.

Click here to see a list of participating breweries.

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