By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Dec 03, 2020 at 11:31 AM

When Marcus Baskerville of Weathered Souls, a black-owned craft brewery in San Antonio, Texas, launched the Black Is Beautiful stout project in early June as means to raise money for, what he called, "local foundations that support police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged," a number of Milwaukee breweries stepped up.

Among the local brewers who brewed their own batches of the recipe Baskerville created and shared, were 1840 Brewing, 3 Sheeps, Black Husky, Broken Bat, City Lights, Company Brewing, Enlightened Brewing, The Fermentorium, Lakefront, Racine Brewing, Tank 8, Third Space and Vennture.

Since that time, brewers have been announcing where the funds are being donated and it is to a variety of nonprofits. In August, Good City Brewing partnered with The 30th Street Industrial Corridor to co-host the launch of that brewery's version, which will support a new housing initiative in the Garden Homes area, located not far from Good City's Century City facility.

This week, Vennture Brew Co., 5519 W. North Ave., announced that it has donated $5,000 to the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin based on its Black Is Beautiful sales.

“We selected the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin as the recipient of our proceeds because we believe in closing the economic equity gap, keeping money in the black community, and encouraging opportunities for entrepreneurship. Instead of reinventing the wheel, AACCW is doing good work on this front and we are happy to help support their mission," said Simon McConico, co-founder of Vennture Brew Co. in the announcement.

“We hope to work with the Chamber, and its aspiring entrepreneurs, to create access to brewing and/or coffee roasting education. Our business was founded on our passion for coffee, beer, and the community that they help foster. We would like to continue to widen our community through education and access.”

Other brewers were working with varied groups like Teens Grow Greens, Urban Underground, LitMKE, Milwaukee Freedom Fund, BLOC – Black Leaders Organizing for Communities and City Youth Martial Arts.

“We are thrilled that Vennture Brew Co believes so strongly in us to make this donation,” said African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin President Ossie Kendrix.

“As we work closely with small business, we understand the blood, sweat and tears that entrepreneurs sacrifice to make their businesses succeed. This has been a challenging year for the Chamber and those we serve; donations like this affirm the value of our work.”

In announcing that it would donate its Black Is Beautiful proceeds to Teens Grow Greens back in spring, 1840 Brewing’s Kyle Vetter said that the collaborative beer was an important project.

"It allows us to invest proceeds into our community to help uplift those affected by these systemic issues,” said that Bay View brewery’s Kyle Vetter. “We are in the midst of the most important civil rights movement of our time, and we want to do whatever we can to stand in solidarity and support change."

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

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.