Day Bracey is using his popular craft beer festival to provide Black-owned breweries an opportunity to share their wares with a wider audience.
To Day Bracey, the purpose of his popular craft beer festival, Barrel & Flow, isn't to sell beer. He told Pittsburgh's NPR affiliate WESA that the main goal of the event is actually to provide Black business owners a way to network and benefit from the exposure they may have never had before. Barrel & Flow was originally founded as Fresh Fest in 2018, becoming America's first Black-operated beer festival. Its popularity grew to the point that USA Today listed it among its top-10 ranked beer festivals as voted by readers. This year not only marked the festival's return to an in-person event after the pandemic forced it online, but it was also the debut of its new name. Bracey told WESA that as the festival has grown, he has started to notice ways in which the craft brewing scene has become more inclusive in the Pittsburgh area–whether it be more Black people getting jobs at breweries or selling beer at their own events. While Black people still only make up a small percentage of craft brewery owners, events like Barrel & Flow are just one way to help change that.