MKE Black, founded in 2019 to celebrate and boost Black businesses and culture in Milwaukee, is partnering with a pair of local breweries to help raise awareness and funds.
On Wednesday, Feb. 16, MKE Black hosts an Indoor Winter Block Party at Indeed Brewing Company, 530 S. 2nd St., in Walker's Point., from 5 until 8 p.m.
The event, with a series of vendors, aims to spotlight Black businesses in the city.
Recently, MobCraft Beer, also in Walker's Point, announced that it would brew Black is Beautiful Imperial Stout in collaboration with CAC Brewing to benefit MKE Black.
Black is Beautiful was created by Marcus Baskerville of Texas' Weathered Souls Brewing in 2020 as an open collaboration by nearly 450 brewers worldwide to benefit "local foundations that support police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged."
It's back now as more than 10 regional breweries make the beer again for sale in more than 300 Walmart stores nationwide.
MobCraft's example, will be available in 20 Wisconsin Walmarts, beginning this week.
It was brewed in collaboration with Chris Adams, a Milwaukee homebrewer working toward opening his own CAC Brewing.
"This is my first project with Mobcraft," he says. "Andrew (Gierczak) and Henry (Schwartz) are awesome. I have known them for about six years and they have been instrumental in sharing brewing knowledge. I shared with them operations knowledge, (as) I have over 20 years manufacturing operations experience."
Since it debuted, Black Is Beautiful has been brewed by more than 1,200 breweries in all 50 states and in 22 countries, raising more than $3 million.
The money has benefitted a number of causes. In Milwaukee, for example, Good City's version of the beer helped fund an initiative to rehabilitate houses in the Garden Homes neighborhood.
Part of the proceeds from the new MobCraft/CAC collab will benefit MKE Black and The Harriet Baskerville Incubation Program, which supports hands-on training and education programs in brewing for women and people of color.
“For MKE Black, this is exactly what is supposed to happen," says MKE Black Director of Strategic Partnerships & Initiatives Ayrton Bryan. "Black business and Black Individuals have a voice and it deserves to be heard.
"By being invited into spaces by allies and other communities, particularly in a space like beer that can have less diversity this is exactly the kind of opportunities MKE Black supports. Sustainable business and community partnership and collaboration that brings people together to live and win.
For me personally , this is just wow. I have always loved beer, and always wanted it to be a friendlier place for Black faces. A crucial part of that is representation, seeing yourself. The fact that Chris and CAC are playing a part in brining this Black is Beautiful to life is heartwarming.”
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.