Scholarships launched for people of colour within the US brewing and distilling industries

Jacopo Mazzeo

Jacopo Mazzeo

07 July 2020

Renowned Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver announced the formation of the Michael Jackson Foundation for Brewing and Distilling (MJF) to help people of colour in, or who wish to join, the brewing and distilling industries

The MJF will be helping ‘predominantly people of colour’ by funding scholarship awards to ‘directly fund a more equitable and dynamic future for brewing and distilling’, Oliver said on Twitter yesterday (6 July).

Specifically, the scholarships are aimed at funding brewing and distilling education – beginning or ongoing – for black, indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC). ‘Each scholarship granted to a student,’ added Oliver, ‘will be matched with a BIPOC mentor and/or peer within the industry.’

The foundation has been named after Michael James Jackson (1942-2007), ‘the world’s greatest beer and whisky writer’, whose writing has played a key role in the birth of the craft beer movement. ‘Michael was English, but he was also actively and profoundly anti-racist,’ said Oliver.

The brewing scholarship is the Sir Geoff Palmer Scholarship Award for Brewing, after Geoff Palmer, professor emeritus of Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University who became the first black professor in Scotland and who has ‘also been one of the most prominent civil rights authors and activists in the UK for decades’.

Meanwhile, the distilling scholarship will be the Nathan Green Scholarship for Distilling. Nathan Green (1820-1890?) was born enslaved, and was the ‘original distiller for Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey. [He] taught founder Jack Daniel how to distil using his distinctive techniques... and is properly credited as Jack Daniel's original Master Distiller.’

Funds for the scholarships will be accepted as of 15 July. For those interested in contributing, more information on how to submit funds will be released soon.

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