02 Jul Weathered Souls Black is Beautiful Beer Collaboration – Behind the Scenes with Marcus Baskerville
When we first started writing this article, there were 450+ breweries taking part in this Weathered Souls Black is Beautiful Beer Collaboration. At the time of publishing, there are now 928 breweries in all 50 of the United States and 16 other countries, with the number still slowly growing.
This is a stand of solidarity unlike any other we’ve seen before. It might be the most United that these 50 states have been in a while, but I digress.
There were 855 for Other Half’s All Together collaboration to benefit service industry workers and 1,400 for Sierra Nevada’s Resilience collaboration to benefit wildfire victims. That says a lot on its own, but we wanted to get a little deeper, so we reached out to Marcus Baskerville.
Marcus is the head brewer of Weathered Souls Brewing in San Antonio, Texas. Weathered Souls is the home of a fiercely independent crew that oozes creativity in each and every brew.
In a nutshell, the Weathered Souls Black is Beautiful Beer Collaboration is a global collaboration beer where breweries around the world will all brew their own take on a big, bold, and beautifully black stout. Label designs are supplied, complete with print-ready files. All a brewery needs to do is sign up, brew the beer, commit to a cause, and educate their consumers on the cause they chose and why. It’s a beautiful effort to educate beer drinkers everywhere.
There are so many surface level articles floating around that stretch the paragraph above into 1,000 words. If you’re here on our site, you probably already know the “in a nutshell” version very well.
We wanted to take a moment to dig a little deeper into the Weathered Souls Black is Beautiful Beer Collaboration.
“The Black is Beautiful initiative is a collaborative effort amongst the brewing community and its customers, in an attempt to bring awareness to the injustices that many people of color face daily. Our mission is to bridge the gap that’s been around for ages and provide a platform to show that the brewing community is an inclusive place for everyone of any color. We are asking for all breweries and brewers far and wide to raise a glass with us in unison and participate in this collaboration. In the collaboration efforts, we would ask for participating breweries to do the following:
- Donate 100% of the beer’s proceeds to local foundations that support police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged
- Choose their own entity to donate to local organizations that support equality and inclusion
- Commit to the long-term work of equality
Weathered Souls chose the Know Your Rights Campaign, and Marcus shared the heart of it boldly, “As much as we want this to be about raising money, the real issue is bringing education and information, which will bring forth change to a system that has fractured so many families and has been broken for decades.”
Marcus has personally been on the wrong side of abuse of power by the police, so we reached out to him with the following questions about beer, the Weathered Souls Black is Beautiful Beer Collaboration, and his history.
“As a father and Black business owner, I wanted to figure out a way to give back,” Baskerville told Delish. “I didn’t participate in the protests, and so I kind of felt disappointed in myself that I wasn’t able to get out there and be there for the cause.”
8th Wonder, Baa Baa Brewhouse, Astral, Back Pew, Battlehops, Under the Radar, City Acre, Megaton, Sigma, Holler, New Magnolia, Great Heights, Urban South HTX, homebrewers like Cutback Brewing, Misfit Brewing, Secret Beach, and Thirsty Hermit Brewing, and last but certainly not least (close friends of Weathered Souls) Ingenious Brewing… Lots of Houston breweries are getting in on this collab. Whose are you most excited to try? Honestly all of them. I hope as many breweries send me beer as possible. But most of Texas knows we have a great relationship with Ingenious and Baa Baa so im extra excited to see what the homies put out.
Talk about the recipe and creativity. How far away from the existing recipe should we expect to see folks go? I hope people stick to the base and expand from there. As far as the extras past the base, I hope breweries get creative as possible. Sky’s the limit, especially with 860+ breweries participating.
We design labels for a handful of awesome breweries, and we even had the pleasure of creating two different batches of Black is Beautiful labels, so we’re always watching the art on the can. We know there’s always a story. What’s the story behind the artwork of the Weathered Souls Black is Beautiful Beer Collaboration cans? The artwork was left open to creativity by Kevin Dyer. I told him I wanted to highlight the different shades of black interlocking together to create one image. Beyond that, Kevin was the brains behind the puzzle pieces.
Kevin explained, “Marcus asked me to design a label showcasing the different shades of black people in some form of unity. The logo for Black is Beautiful was inspired by photos of hand made signs I had seen at recent protests. The simple black letters on white background separated out in their individual boxes to put more emphasis on the meaning of the words. As an artist, the idea of color swatches popped into my head…I then joined the shades together with interlocking shapes. This still highlighted the uniqueness of each shade but now showed their unity.”
The beer industry is already so collaborative and inclusive by nature. Talk about how it feels to see so many people around the world linking arms with you to raise awareness and education about systemic racism. Man, it’s completely humbling. I would have never in my life thought we would be at this many breweries.
I’ve also experienced abuse of power by the police in the form of a beating while handcuffed behind closed doors, as I shared in my painfully vulnerable article recently. Would you care to share your experience? The short end of it, me and a friend were held overnight in a cell without being booked for being suspects of attempted murder where we were the ones who took the gentleman to the hospital and saved his life. Luckily we weren’t physically harmed but were treated like scum and suspects because of the color of our skin. After that experience, I have never looked at the police the same.
Tell me about how this idea struck you. Where were you? What were you listening to? What was on the TV, or what was going through your head? This idea came to me literally 24 hours before the initiative was posted. It came from pride, disappointment and wanting to use my platform to assist. I was fired up from a conversation I was having previously in the day and felt like I needed to do something, anything, that could assist in the pain we are currently feeling for our brothas and sistas that have been wronged. Once I came up with the mission statement I actually started watching Queen and Slim, listened to a lil Old Kanye and basically spent the night coming up with a plan of action. The next morning I got up at 3:00 AM and wrote out the initiative.
Marcus took the beer to Jeff Stuffings out at Jester King Brewery to talk about the concept, and Jeff challenged him to turn the beer into a collaboration effort. Within 24 hours, Baskerville developed the initiative and released the campaign into the world.
Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, Amaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Jamar Clark, Troy Robinson, Peter Gaines, Eric Garner, Tyree Crawford, Ezell Ford, Mya Hall, Felix Kumi, Albert Joseph Davis, Kevin Hicks, Christian Taylor, Michael Noel, Sandra Bland, Richard Perkins, and countless others… Why George Floyd? What do you think it is about this man’s death that has caused the world to stand up and draw a line in the sand? I honestly don’t think it’s George Floyd in Particular. I think that the names listed say enough. People are fed up with the way people of color are being treated and it’s time to make a stand. It’s time to bring the power back to the people. Breonna Taylor and George were catalysts of the disgust we have been feeling for a while.
There are so many great organizations that you could be informing folks about. What about Know Your Rights Campaign is so close to your heart? For us, we will be donating locally as well, but I thought with the recent murder of George Floyd and the way he was murdered… It came full circle to donate to the cause that caused such a stir for the kneeling.
What all goes into a collab of this nature? Will you be sending beer back and forth with other collaborators or meeting up for the world’s most meaningful bottle share? A lot of communication and emails hahahaha. But it’s a lot of computer work and reaching out to vendors and breweries to get involved.
Who isn’t doing it yet, but you wish they would? Not to call them out or put anybody on the spot in a negative light; rather to encourage their participation and a positive step in the right direction. I would say the only big name I haven’t seen that needs to get involved is Sierra Nevada.
When will your beer be ready? Our beer will be released on the 4th of July!
We decided to wait a little while to publish the article alongside the release of Weathered Soul’s beer, and it’s just about time for everybody else’s cans to start releasing too!
There are so many creative ways that businesses are using their platforms and audiences for good, and it’s so cool to see. At the end of the day, the people buying these beers would be buying them anyways. Why not put a cause behind the sales, teach tolerance, and donate to worthy causes that are doing the same?
If you’re really into dark beers like this monster stout that is the Weathered Souls Black is Beautiful Beer Collaboration, check out Brent’s recent article on barrel-aged beers. I’m gonna bet the farm that you’ll see some Black is Beautiful a year from now coming out of barrels. Marcus has already mentioned it very black and white, “I’m thinking at this point, we’re going to do a release of Black is Beautiful probably once a year around the same time, and we’ll also be starting a barrel-aged program.”
Take this moment to celebrate your favorite Houston brewery for their contribution to this effort by voting for them in our annual Most Valuable Brewery voting, or check out the back story on our Big Floyd glasses.
Beers to you, Houston.