10 Best Craft Breweries Run By LGBTQ+ Individuals
There aren’t many people who would view the craft beer industry as necessarily queer. For years it has been predominantly a cis-white-male-oriented profession that we’ve largely supported because…well, we didn’t know we had options. And we could all use a nice cold beer from time to time, so we went with what we knew.
But maybe it’s time to look outside what we know about the craft beer industry. Perhaps it’s high time to start focusing on showing extra love to those in our community, supporting us, and sharing our ideals.
Ya know, instead of “Jim from Undenominational Boring Lite Beer Co.” (no offense to the Jim’s out there).
The good news is, that there are WAY more LGBTQ+ breweries and small beer makers than we thought across the country! Which has absolutely been a long time coming but we are so happy to see that progress is always happening. Even if sometimes it doesn’t seem that way.
So, here’s 10 truly stellar craft beer companies all owned, operated, and affirmed by LGBTQ+ people.
Bow & Arrow Brewing Co. (Albuquerque, NM)
Shyla Sheppard (left) and Missy Begay (right)
Photo courtesy of newmexicomagazine.org
Founded in 2016 by Shyla Sheppard and her wife Dr. Missy Begay, these women are putting a stamp on the craft brewing market with some selections that are truly wild. They created Bow & Arrow to put an appreciation and emphasis on their personal origin story and that of the land around them.
“We wanted to explore our connection to this special place. The land, the people. Indigenous ingredients captured our imagination,” Sheppard says.
By using extremely local ingredients in their brews, such as cultivating yeast from a peach tree grown on their property and sprigs of lavender from a local farm, they are creating beers that are completely their own.
Their Savage Times Sour IPA is one of our favorite original creations of theirs, but seeing their creativity at work is really something else.
They’ve also launched the Native Land Beer initiative, providing participating breweries with an original beer recipe to pay homage to the Native land they brew on. Donating to various organizations that contribute to embolden and give back to Native communities.
Fullsteam Brewery (Durham, NC)
Ari Sanders @ Fullsteam Brewery
Photo courtesy of Fullsteam Brewery
Anyone from Durham knows one thing for certain, and that’s how to get down and celebrate. Fullsteam Brewery hosts dozens of different events every month, but also emphasizes making sure everyone is there and having a good time!
They are also an active part in celebrating and supporting the queer community, a huge part of which has been overseen by their Director of Taproom Operations Ari Sanders. Sanders, who identifies as a BIPOC Queer Woman, has promoted inclusivity in their brewing program.
She has also made sure they are selling Pride merch year-round because we all know Pride doesn’t end when June does!
They have also participated in the Queer Beer Fest this past year, where dozens of other breweries owned and supported by the queer community gather to…well, drink beer!
Local Brewing Co. (San Francisco, CA)
Regan and her team
Photo courtesy of GoFundMe
This queer-owned and women-owned brewery is one of the only of its kind in the Bay Area. Local Brewing Co. co-founder, Head Brewmaster (and overall science wiz) Regan Long has been carving out a space for more queer and inclusive brewers in the industry. Luckily, there has been a much broader influx of queer brewers in the industry and people encouraging diversity and inclusion wherever they go, which makes Local’s stance much easier.
“It’s been fantastic to see more visible and accepted diversity in the industry of late,” Long says. “More perspectives and opinions always drive new, innovative ideas and the industry is better for it.”
She and her team have been mixing up some fantastic brews, including their Gay Crush Tropical Blonde. Which, a portion of sales goes to support the SF LGBT Center. And is available always because Pride stops when? Never.
Dorchester Brewing Co. (Boston, MA)
Punchbowl Kettle Sour Beer from Dorchester Brewing Co.
Photo courtesy of Dorchester Brewing Company Instagram
Back in the 1940s, right when Boston’s wealthiest started to up and move out of Dorchester, Boston’s LGBTQ+ residents started to move in and make it home for the community. Over time it has become a welcome safe haven for all kinds of diverse individuals, but with an open queer foundation.
Dorchester Brewing Co., founded by Matt Malloy and his husband, planted its roots right in the middle of some of the most iconic Queer Neighborhoods in the area.
“You don’t just build a brewery to make great beer, but to serve a community and make people happy.” Malloy says.
And that’s exactly what they continue to do.
Guardian Brewing Company (Saugatuck, MI)
Guardian Brewing Company
Photo courtesy of Guardian Brewing Company
If their Rainbow Unicorn logo didn’t give it away immediately, Guardian Brewing Co. is an active supporter of the LGBTQ+ community.
Also being fully female-owned and queer-owned, they’re building a place to celebrate being who you are, with some incredible (vegan-friendly) food and drinks, right next to Lake Michigan.
Owner Kim Collins, having multiple accolades in the brewing community (including a Cicerone certification in 2016), certainly knows her way around crafting excellent brews. She actively advocates for diversity and inclusion in her work and is a huge part of creating a more queer space for others passionate about great beer. And recently released Werk Boots, a Queer Beer celebrating the Michigan queer community by directly acknowledging and supporting the ones in it.
Goldspot Brewing Co. (Denver, CO)
Kelissa Heiber at Goldspot Brewing Co.
Photo courtesy of Goldpsot Brewing Co. Instagram
There are plenty of people who make Goldspot Brewing Co. a proverbial gay Mecca, but Kelissa Hieber might be the most influential. After studying brewing on her own, becoming Head Brewer at Goldspot, buying out the owners, and claiming full ownership of the brewery, Hieber is crushing it.
From promoting Drag Bingo and Brunch events and other community fundraisers, and their newest brew “It’s Brittney, B****”, Goldspot is quickly becoming one of the most noteworthy queer breweries in the industry.
They just want to go that extra mile for you. Ya know?
Big Rip Brewing Co. (North Kansas City, MO)
Bri Burrows from Big Rip Brewing Co.
Photo courtesy of PorchDrinking.com
Co-owner and Head Brewer Bri Burrows has always had a penchant for brewing, going from weekend bartender at Big Rip to her current standing in just under five years. If that wasn’t enough, she’s also the first female head brewer in the Kansas City area!
She continues to work with the Pink Boots Society of Kansas supporting women in brewing AND collaborating with Lily Waite of The Queer Brewing Project, encouraging and supporting queer beer makers in the industry.
She also spearheaded the creation of their “Try and Tear Me Down” Boysenberry IPA, which was donated to the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project.
Burrows is busy! But continues to help make Big Rip Brewing Co. the most inclusive and awesome brewery that it is today.
Provincetown Brewing Co. (Provincetown, MA)
Provincetown Brewing Co.
Photo courtesty of Provincetown Brewing Co.
As queer people, ya just gotta know about Provincetown, the ultimate retreat for LGBTQ+ people. Provincetown Brewing Co. is the place to be and usually involves a drink or two.
As is stated on their website: “Activism is our ethos.” The brewery makes it a point to contribute to and support LGBTQ+ organizations with the sale of all their brews. Each donating to a variety of different charities and organizations to keep supporting the people who do the same to us.
In particular, their #draftivism program donates 15% of all profits to a multitude of organizations. “From LGBTQ+ inclusion to environmental conservation and support of a year-round artists community on the Outer Cape.”
They’re a queer brewery with a mission, and for that, we give the biggest cheers. Probably with a Bearded Mistress IPA in hand.
Necromancer Brewing (Pittsburgh, PA)
Lauren Hughes of Necromancer Brewing
Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Brewery and Diversity Council
Necromancer Brewing Co. might be one of the coolest concepts for a brewery, they pride themselves on “resurrecting” old styles of beer…. get it?
This beautifully macabre brewery is bringing back some killer brews, courtesy of their Head Brewer Lauren Hughes. Being the second ever female head brewer in Pittsburgh, as well as being a member of the queer community, she has always had her work cut out for her. And, boy, did she come to work.
This beer program has something for everyone, from the Ms. Peacock (with the Wrench) Summer Blonde to their Kill Switch Red IPA, you’ll be dead wrong not to give them a try.
Show up for the Drag Shows, stay for the spooky beer.
Ponysaurus Brewing Co. (Durham, NC)
Ponysaurus Brewing Co.
courtesy of their website
As it very clearly states on the Ponysaurus Brewing Co. website, this is “The Beer Beer Would Drink If Beer Could Drink Beer.” 'Nuff Said.
Specializing in both traditional and experimental styles of beer, they really caught our attention when they rode in on that Ponysaurus of theirs to defend the LGBTQ+ community.
After a video of the Lt. Governor of North Carolina made a certain comment, they decided to take a stance in one of the most clever ways possible. Their Don’t Be Mean To People beer donates a portion of every sale to support LGBTQ+ organizations.
“So we know in his heart he doesn't believe other North Carolinians are "filth." We’re so sure of it, we’re helping to fund the good work that could be his greatest act in public office.”
So cheers to education, stopping bigotry in its tracks, and #fundthefabulous.