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Brewing industry gets more diverse, as Budweiser launches Black scholarship program

Budweiser, an American-style pale lager produced by Anheuser-Busch Inbev, currently part of the transnational corporation AB InBev and produced in various breweries around the world announced a few days ago that the company will award 30 scholarships annually over the next five years aimed at growing more Black representation in the beer brewing industry.

According to the most recent statistics, just 0.6% of all brewers in the industry are Black, highlighting the urgent need for more diversity and diversification of personnel in the brewing sector.

The colossal is planning to partner with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) - also known as the United Fund, an American philanthropic organization that funds scholarships for black students and general scholarship funds for 37 private historically black colleges and universities - to award the scholarships, which will be named after Natalie Johnson. She is currently the company’s brewing director for North America, but also the first female Black brewmaster for Anheuser-Busch.

Portfolio beer brands of Budweiser Brewing Company APAC Ltd are displayed during a news conference on the company's IPO in Hong Kong, China. Image credit REUTERS/Andrew Geoffrey Jackson/File Photo

Specifically, every year Budweiser will award 25 scholarships worth $4,000 to students pursuing science, technology, engineering and math majors, which can also lead to careers in the beer brewing industry.

Besides, Anheuser-Busch said five interns in its brewing division will get a $6,000 scholarship to support the final year of their degree.

“I would love if all five (interns) came on board with us, and then the five the year after that,” Natalie Johnson admitted.

Unsurprisingly, the scholarships come at a crucial time. Worldwide, nearly every company is facing the issue of racism and diversity in the aftermath of George Floyd’s brutal murder in Minneapolis in May.

“We realized we had a role to not only accelerate our diversity and inclusion agenda internally ... but also externally by way of education,” declared in a statement Monica Rustgi, vice president of marketing for Budweiser USA.

Dwyane Wade surprised Budweiser brewmaster Natalie Johnson with the news of a scholarship in her name. Image credit Budweiser/Adweek

Budweiser also released a short film in which former NBA star Dwyane Wade met with Johnson to give her the exciting announcement of the new scholarship fund.

“It’s bigger than just beer, it’s about the opportunity we can create for the Black and brown community,” claimed Wade, who supported and promoted the company launch of a non-alcoholic beer called Budweiser Zero last July.

Eventually, Anheuser-Busch concluded that it will maintain contact and track the successes of the award winners throughout the program, but declined to elaborate on internal hiring goals so far.


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