For the second year, the Fresh Fest beer festival will come to Pittsburgh from August 9 –11. And this year, it’s even bigger with more than 45 exclusive beer collaborations between Black-owned breweries and Pittsburgh area breweries, Black artists and entrepreneurs.
“The inspiration behind Fresh Fest was for Day and I to collectively use our platforms to move the needle on the topics of diversity and inclusion in craft beer,” Potter says. He and Bracey’s vision expanded beyond just different faces. “We saw that there was a need to shape the conversation into one that included equity and brand exposure, and not just getting more diverse consumers into bars and taprooms.”
The inaugural event was a one-day affair. This year’s three-day festival will include the diversity and inclusion component, but also a whole lot more.
“We’ve expanded the entire fest to three days to give everyone more opportunities to connect with one another in the industry,” Potter says. The additional days offer a live podcast interview with craft beer legend Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery, symposiums and a brewer’s brunch on Sunday, sponsored by New Belgium Brewing Company.
Limited-edition beer collaborations produced for the festival take center stage this year, providing an opportunity and exposure for both the community members and the breweries.
“It’s a great way to promote dialogue,” Potter says. “In most of these partnerships, the two collaborators had no idea the other existed. We’re excited to be a part of helping create any long-term relationships and opportunities that may occur through brewing.”
Award-winning Dallas homebrewer Kuumba Smothers of Smittox Brewing will be participating in the festival this year. While the details are currently being finalized, he’ll be making a fruited kettle sour with Grist House Brewing, a local Pittsburgh brewery.
“We were looking to make a refreshing beer for the summer and something fruit-forward will fit that bill,” Smothers says. “We are still finalizing grain bill and fruit additions, but the end result should be an easy drinker.”
- Warcloud Brewing, a Los Angeles-area homebrewing collective, and 11th Hour Brewing Company
- Hip-hop group Nappy Roots and Dancing Gnome Brewery
- Black Brew Culture and East End Brewing Company