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Wisconsin group addressing lack of diversity in brewing industry

Posted at 12:36 PM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-20 14:36:42-05

MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- A Wisconsin brewery and a beer historian are working to bring change to an industry that needs more diversity.

Nationwide, the Brewers Association says that even though 60.8 percent of the U.S. population is white, an even higher number of breweries, 64.8 percent, are white-owned.

John Harry is a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and studies the history of beer. He will be hosting a discussion on Diversity in Brewing at Vennture Brew Company next week.

"It's indicative of the situation nationally as far as minorities involved in entrepreneurship efforts. The difference is this is an industry that has neglected an entire population of people for a while, so I really hope that that part changes," said Harry.

Vennture Brew Company on North Avenue is owned by three friends who specifically chose the Washington Park neighborhood for its diversity.

Co-owner Simon Mcconio, who is from a mixed-race family, hopes to be part of the change in the industry.

"Diversity in beer is super, it's very important to us. Not only along cultural lines but also along sex. There's an under-representation of females, there's an under-representation of minorities in beer and beer culture," said Mcconio.

Together John Harry and Vennture Brew Company are discussing the issue on February 26 at Vennture Brewing at 6:30 p.m. at 5519 W. North Ave. in Milwaukee.

This story was originally published by Tom Durian at WTMJ.