Black Owned Booze Companies
Chris Montana of Du Nord Distillery in Minneapolis
DuNord Distillery
By Kirk Miller / July 3, 2020 5:51 am

America’s beer, wine and spirits industry isn’t yet as diverse as it should be, but you can still do your part to support it this holiday weekend. 

And you can start by having a drink … and making it a point to source said drink from a distillery, brewery or vineyard owned by a person of color.

Below, seven booze brands owned by BIPOC that are producing exceptional products — there are (thankfully) many, many more we could have included, but we wanted to showcase a range of tipples and keep the companies limited to American brands using primarily local ingredients.

After all, this is all about the best of what America has to offer.

Tennessee Whiskey: Uncle Nearest

Fawn Weaver’s diligent research into the background of Nathan “Nearest” Green, a former slave and a friend/mentor to Jack Daniel, helped rewrite American whiskey’s whitewashed past. In just three years, Weaver and her team have also created an award-winning whiskey and started work on a massive distillery in Tennessee.

Liqueurs, gin and more: Du Nord Craft Spirits

Owned by Chris Montana, former president of the American Craft Spirits Association (along with his wife Shanelle), Du Nord has pivoted recently to producing hand sanitizer and functioning as a donation center. During non-pandemic times, the Minneapolis-based operation produces everything from blended whisky to gin to apple liqueur. You can read more about how Du Nord is leading its home city’s revival here.

Wine: Maison Noir

André Hueston Mack, the former head sommelier at New York’s Per Se, owns and runs this Oregon-based wine company (and apparel brand), offering up “unique and distinctive garage wines” that were initially created by Mack for NYC’s upper-tier dining scene.

Beer: Warcloud Brewing

“We operate with the warrior mindset bestowed upon us by our creator,” notes this unconventional southern California brewery in its mission statement. “Much like the Special Forces Green Berets; we know it’s imperative to kill with unconventional style and warfare.” The brand features Black, Native American and other heroes of color (and Jedi) on its labels and merch. Known for everything from lightly-hopped ales to high-ABV stouts.

Vodka: 44 North

Vodka distilled from 100% Idaho potatoes (or Brundage Winter Wheat) blended with Rocky Mountain spring water. Even the infusions (huckleberries, nectarines, etc) hail from the Gem State. 

Sessionable beer: Brazo Fuerte

Sustainable, all-day drinking suds via Boston. Founded by former rugby player / Harvard grad / biotech exec Beverly Armstrong, who wanted to create a “post-game” brew while also being eco-conscious and utilizing local ingredients.

Rye: Greenwood Whiskey

A celebration of  the Historic Greenwood District neighborhood in Tulsa, OK (aka “Black Wall Street”), a properous area with over 600 African-American owned businesses that was destroyed by racial violence. Distilled and aged in Indiana and bottled in Florida, the brand officially launches this month.