As part of an ongoing commitment to increase racial equity in the craft beer industry, and to kick off Black History Month, Allagash Brewing Co. is re-releasing two collaborative beers with Crowns & Hops Brewing Co., the award-winning Black-owned brewery in Inglewood, Calif., and Montclair Brewery, an award-winning Black-owned microbrewery in Montclair, N.J.
“Teaming up with both Crowns & Hops and Montclair Brewery to make exciting new beers were two of our highlights from last year,” said Rob Tod, Founder, Allagash. “We’re so glad to be able to come back together in 2024, re-release these beers in a big way and continue to use beer as a force for good.”
A portion of proceeds from sales of each beer will go to the 8 Trill Initiative, a development fund launched by Crowns & Hops co-founders Beny Ashburn and Teo Hunter dedicated to generating opportunities for Black-owned craft beer brands while demonstrating the benefits and fiscal impact of racial equity.
The connections between these three breweries are multi-faceted: Allagash has collaborated with both Crowns & Hops and Montclair Brewery at previous Barrel & Flow Festivals, while Allagash Curieux was actually the first craft beer that Crowns & Hops Co-Founder Teo Hunter tried, and was key in sparking his interest in craft beer. In addition, Montclair Brewery is a previous recipient of Crowns & Hops’ 8 Trill Pils Grant supporting Black-owned craft beer businesses.
More about 8 Trill
“The goal of the 8 Trill Initiative is for Black owned breweries to represent 13% of all breweries in the country, which would be a true representation of the Black population,” said Ashburn. “To get there, we need to build community within the industry that’s focused on equity, like we’re doing with Allagash, and work to expand capital and information available for Black entrepreneurs in the craft beer space.”
The 8 Trill Initiative is named after a statistic from a W.K. Kellogg Foundation report, “Business Case for Racial Equity.” The report suggests that the U.S. stands to realize an $8 trillion gain in the national GDP by closing the racial equity gap by 2050.
“Being a recipient of the 8 Trill grant at its inception was a game-changer for our business and it’s invigorating now to take a part in ensuring that the mission continues with the great support of Allagash and the Verb collaboration,” said Ford-Sawadogo.
About the beers:
- Cur-8 (Crowns & Hops + Allagash) – Pairs the crisp flavor of Crowns & Hops’ 8 Trill Pils pilsner with notes of bourbon, vanilla and oak from Allagash Curieux.
- Verb (Montclair Brewery + Allagash) – Verb is a lager brewed with lemon verbena. Its name references that ingredient as well as “verb” as a term for action, representing our dedication to acting on our beliefs.
The beers will be brewed and packaged at Allagash’s Portland, Maine headquarters. Each beer will also see a wider distribution footprint than when first introduced.
When it debuted in February 2023, Cur-8 (6.5% ABV) was a limited release available in California, New York, Georgia and at Allagash’s Portland, ME Tasting Room. Cur-8 will be available in mid-January in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans in the Allagash tasting room, as well as: CA, NH, MA, ME, CT, VA, NC, SC, GA, and NY.
The first version of Verb (a saison) was poured in August 2023 at the annual Barrel & Flow Fest—the country’s first Black arts and craft beer festival—as well as Montclair Brewery’s taproom and limited NJ and NY distribution. This second version (a lager) will feature a label with artwork by acclaimed artist Carl Joe Williams. Verb releases in the Allagash tasting room on 2/1 and in New Jersey shortly after.
Montclair Brewery Co-owner Denise Ford Sawadogo and Crowns & Hops Co-owner Teo Hunter are both on the board of the National Black Brewers Association (NB2A) —an organization dedicated to promoting Black representation in the brewing community and increasing diversity at all levels, including ownership and brewmaster roles. Allagash is also a business council member and financial sponsor of the NB2A.