Ypsilanti-based craft brewery 734 Brewing has released its first specialty beer named after a local celebrity, with plans to release five more over the course of 2020. The first beer is the "Something About the Name Sasha" raspberry stout, named after Sasha Womble, host of the local beer podcast Brewz Brothaz.
Hannah Williamson, community outreach coordinator for 734, says Womble was chosen as the first local celebrity because she's active in the community and is a woman of color who is involved in craft beer.
"It's bringing attention to the fact that other people are interested in craft beer besides the dominant demographic right now, which is white men," Williamson says. "Women and POC are interested in craft beer, and not just in consuming it but learning about it and talking about it."
Williamson says 734 Brewing hopes to name a new beer after a local person or cause about every two months, and to add some kind of fundraising component to most of the new beer launches. The idea is meant in part to highlight good causes in the Ypsilanti community but also to allow 734's brewer, Drew Denver, to "have a chance to express himself while still making our flagship beers," Williamson says.
She says she'd love to name a beer after the founder of Ypsi's Rutherford Pool, Jesse Rutherford, both highlighting the founder's achievements and potentially creating an opportunity to raise funds for bathhouse renovations, pool passes, or swim lesson scholarships.
To highlight and help raise funds for the annual Parkridge Summer Fest, Williamson says she'd love to create a brew in honor of Parkridge Community Center and its community development manager, Anthony Williamson.
"That's an event that's near and dear to us, and I don't think Anthony or the work Parkridge Community Center does get enough recognition," she says.
Williamson says staff hope to coordinate each new beer launch with a featured artist, whose artwork would be displayed on the brewery's walls for the two months that each beer is featured. She says 734 may seek community nominations for individuals to be honored with a speciality beer as well.
Announcements about new specialty beer releases will be available via 734 Brewing's Facebook page.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at email@example.com.
Photos courtesy of 734 Brewing.