Corrections & Clarifications: A previous version of this article omitted that Beast Brewing Company in Bisbee was also a Black-owned brewery.
Home brewer Tyler Smith first connected with north Phoenix’s Simple Machine Brewing Company in June. He was hoping to persuade the brewery’s owners to show their support for civil rights and racial equality.
After protests swept the country calling for police reform and increased civil rights, a nationwide effort started among brewers to raise money for civil rights organizations. Brewers across the country, including many in Arizona, created varieties of a beer called Black is Beautiful and donated proceeds to the NAACP, ACLU and other racial justice organizations.
Wanting to work with a metro Phoenix brewery on the project, Smith reached out to Simple Machine owners Matt Wright and Marshall Norris to ask about brewing a Black is Beautiful beer. Together, they brewed an imperial black IPA that helped raise funds for Black Families and Child Services of Arizona, a Phoenix-based nonprofit.
Now a few months later, Smith has a permanent spot in the Simple Machine brew house. He hopes to open his own beer and ramen restaurant in the future, but now, with two of his own tanks inside Simple Machine, he’s launched one of Arizona’s first Black-owned breweries, Kitsune Brewing Company.
How Kitsune paired up with Simple Machine
Before the coronavirus pandemic, Smith was working on opening his own brewery and ramen noodle restaurant in Cave Creek. He had chosen the name and location, drawn up the plans and started an equipment order, Smith says.
This summer, while waiting to see what would happen with his original location, Smith brewed the Black is Beautiful beer at Simple Machine and became familiar with the team. He and head brewer Marshall Norris got along so well they decided to collaborate on more beers.
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