Black-Owned Brewery

Crown & Hops, Black-Owned Brewery, Lock Arms With Fellow Spirits Owners To Diversify The Industry

The breweries share resources, including a facility, to help with production.

A Black-owned brewery has joined forces with other diverse entrepreneurs to expand its reach in the beverage industry. Crowns & Hops Brewing Co. discussed its plan to connect with and elevate Black business owners.

The Inglewood-based company launched in 2019, but its founders, Beny Ashburn and Teo Hunter, swiftly realized the power in numbers. Wanting to grow their impact by uplifting others like themselves, they joined three other Black-owned breweries to start the Circle of Crowns Beverage Group.

“We always understood that what we were building at Crowns & Hops had the opportunity to be something that was industry-changing. There are very few entrepreneurs in the beverage industry, especially the craft beer industry, that were addressing diversity in the space,” Hunter told the Los Angeles Business Journal.

This diversity in the craft beer sector is much needed. Hunter stated that Black entrepreneurs only account for 80 of the 10,000 breweries within the United States. Given this, the Crowns & Hops founders started their business with virtually no expertise or guidance. However, they hope to alleviate this uphill battle for those currently on the journey.

“We’ve had to raise capital. We’ve had to create efficiencies,” explained Ashburn. “We can be a great adviser-consultant guide and help them build that foundation to be successful moving forward. We ourselves had a lot of help getting started, so it’s our opportunity to pay it forward.”

They partnered with fellow California company Full Circle Brewing Co., the nation’s largest Black-owned craft brewery and owners of Speakeasy Ales & Lagers and Sonoma Cider. Together, the cohort shares resources and business acumen to take their brands to new heights. Additionally, focusing on Black consumers within the rising craft beef space remains a priority for the group.

“What we’re doing is not just moving the needle in racial equity for our country, but it is really making an impact on the beverage industry as a whole,” shared Hunter. “People are looking for new consumers and how to find that diversity. For us, it is something that we believe is the future of craft beer.”

Crowns & Hops continues to see its success in action, as sales have grown at a 30% increase annually. With a greater influence in California, the brewery also plans to launch a taproom at LAX airport.

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