As a well-known African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” The newly formed Mosaic State Brewers Collective, a collaboration between Reuben’s Brews and Métier Brewing Company to develop diverse leadership for the brewing industry, was inspired by that proverb when defining the program’s empowering motto: Go Far, Go Together.
Launching this summer and driven by Reuben’s Co-Founder and Director of the Reuben’s Brews Foundation Grace Robbings and Métier Brewing Co. General Manager Dreux Dillingham [pictured above], the ambitious Mosaic State Brewers Collective offers an insightful curriculum, practical experience, and authentic mentorship that will open opportunities for historically underrepresented groups, ultimately enriching the culture and broadening the perspective of the brewing industry to better represent the diverse communities of which it is an essential part.
“Informal mentorship has long played an important role in the craft brewing industry,” said Dr. J Jackson-Beckham (she/her/Dr.), the Equity & Inclusion Partner for the Brewers Association and Principal of Crafted For all. “Formalizing mentoring relationships will help us to strategically remove barriers to access and advancement and extend opportunities to underrepresented and marginalized groups.”
According to a 2019 report from the Brewers Association, 88% of the people who own craft breweries are white while only 4% are American Indian or Alaska Native, 2% are Asian, 2% are Hispanic, and just 1% are Black.
Beginning in June and limited to 10 participants, the program will take place over the course of three distinct levels:
- Do I have a place in this industry?
- Where is my place in this industry?
- How can I become a leader in this industry?
In addition to Grace and Dreux, participants will receive invaluable guidance from an inspiring group of mentors selected from each sector of the beer community and adjacent retail and manufacturing businesses. Mentors include:
- Brewmaster and Pink Books Society Leader Annie Johnson,
- Reuben’s Co-Founder Adam Robbings,
- Stoup Brewing Co-Founder/Brewer Robyn Schumacher,
- Georgetown Brewing Co-Founder Manny Chao, and
- Métier Brewing CEO Rodney Hines among several other industry leaders.
The curriculum is also rich with hands-on experience covering everything from recipe design to brewing, cellaring, packaging, marketing, and sales. The final level focuses on business planning and management skills in partnership with the Consulting & Business Development Center at University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.
“Seeing yourself reflected in the work you choose to do and having peers or mentors to lean on in order to grow is an important part of being successful,” said Dillingham. “It’s something I didn’t have early on in my own career and being able to provide that opportunity as an entry point for the future leaders of this industry is what we are passionate about. MBC is proud to collaborate with Reuben’s to create a more inclusive craft beer community for all.”
To raise awareness and essential funds for this vital new program, Reuben’s and Métier are together releasing Ombili IPA, a citrusy West Coast IPA that bounces with bright aromas of tangerine and a layered hop profile featuring Citra, Sabro, and Azacca hops. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of Ombili IPA will support the Mosaic State Brewers Collective.
Production of the beer was made possible by generous donations from Gambrinus Malting, Skagit Valley Malting, Haas, Roy Farms, and the Kennedy Group.
The artwork adorning the Ombili (pronounced “ohm-bee-lee”) IPA cans was inspired by the vibrant fabrics used by the people of Namibia, where Grace served with the Peace Corps as a volunteer teacher. “In the local Oshiwambo dialect of the area of northern Namibia where I lived and worked, ‘Ombili’ means peace, harmony and all good things,” said Robbings. “It was so imbued in all interactions that the word came to be used in greetings and farewells, similar to how ‘Aloha’ is used.
Dreux and I chose this name because the power of peace and reconciliation is a driving force of the work we’re doing through the Mosaic State Brewers Collective.”