In a country with 56% black people, according to IBGE, 31% of breweries, or almost a third of the total, do not have any black person on their staff. And what seems bad in the South is even worse. There, 64%, practically two thirds, do not have black people.
The alarming data is part of the survey Participation of Black People in the Beer Industry, an initiative by the Guia da Cerveja website with support from Sindicerv (National Union of the Beer Industry), Sebrae (Brazilian Support Service for Micro and Small Businesses) and Abracerva (Brazilian Craft Beer Association).
“This low representation is worrying”, says Diego Dias, one of the partners of the Implicantes brewery, in Porto Alegre (RS), a brand formed by black partners that, not by chance, is completing 5 years this Monday (20) — it was founded in Black conscience day. “It is difficult to find black professionals due to the lack of opportunities. In order to improve, actions are necessary so that black people can specialize, whether as sommeliers or brewmasters”, he points out.
According to the Beer Yearbook, the country has 1,729 breweries. With 686 (39.7% of the total), the South region is the second most prolific in the country, second only to the 798 in the Southeast. The Beer Guide sampling collected responses from 129 breweries (7.46% of the total). Despite covering the five regions, it was also in the South that the survey had the fewest responses, only 3% (22 breweries) responded to the website’s questionnaire.
“We are a racist society and we need to make this very clear. The data reflects what our society is. We see this little representation in other sectors, in the business environment, in the executive environment and in other areas”, comments Paulo Silva, Paulão, member of the Afrocerva group and creator of the Black Fucking Beer project, which has already launched the Afro Lager label. Paulão also hosts the podcast Brassaria Brasília, about the beer universe.
According to the research data, the Northeast and North regions are the most inclusive, with 100% of breweries with black employees; in the Central-West, where Paulão operates, the number is 80%. The Southeast is practically within the national range, with 70% (compared to 69% overall). And the South region, as mentioned before, has employees in only 36% of the breweries, always according to sampling.
Interestingly, the Gaucho Implicantes does not have a black employee, in fact, it does not have any employees at all. “We are the first black brewery in the country, we have no employees because we don’t have a factory. We produce outsourced, but we have five partners, all black”, explains Diego.
This gypsy production, of around 5,000 liters per month, has been almost exclusively to supply the Mocambo bar, which the brewery opened in August in Cidade Baixa, in Porto Alegre. “The public knows what Impatientes is, what Mocambo is. Those who go to consume there already know the brewery.”
During the pandemic, a case of racism caught the sector’s attention, with Implicantes as one of the targets. At the time, a WhatsApp group made up of around 200 brewers, most from the South region, sent racist and misogynistic messages against black people and women in the sector.
“Some people involved with that group approached me to talk. But on the advice of lawyers, we did not contact them”, says Diego. “What worries me most is that it’s not an isolated case. It always comes one after the other, that worries me more”, he adds.
Paulão, from Afrocerva, doesn’t think the beer industry is more racist than others. “But it is more evident because it is a whiter medium than others, for socioeconomic reasons and access”, he assesses. “It’s a means that needs a large investment, it has to have significant economic power to enter. And, in Brazil, these economic means are not in the hands of black people.”
With the hop lager label Afro Lager, the Black Fucking Beer movement seeks to provide more opportunities for black people in the sector. “We have to keep fighting”, summarizes Paulão.
Implicantes also seeks to get closer to organizations that combat racism. “We’ve already made collaborative beers with the profits going to NGOs and collectives that aim to fight racism”, says Diego.
“We end up creating a link with black people to have this space for resistance”, says Diego. “To show that in the South there are black people who like beer, despite all the difficulties, we will always show with Impicantes that representation is important for the beer sector.”
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