To owner, the first Black-owned brewery in Arizona offers representation in the craft beer industry

Craft beer might have a hipster vibe, but for one Phoenix man, is making history as being the owner of Arizona's first Black-owned brewery.

"I used to work for Nike, so when I’m not brewing, I’m a Jordan wearing, Nike hat wearing, big overalls type of guy," said Tyler Smith.

Smith’s big smile definitely makes it look like he’s doing what he loves. Earlier this year, he was a homebrewer. Now, he’s launching Arizona’s first-ever black-owned brewery.

"I think it’s not necessarily social justice, but having a seat at the table," said Smith.

Earlier this year, Smith took part in a nationwide effort to brew a beer called "Black is Beautiful." The effort took place as calls for equal rights were ringing across the country. Proceeds from the beer went to justice organizations.

"Craft beer should be for everybody, and this gives us the opportunity, and gives the company the opportunity in providing a beer to help start conversations," said Marshall Norris, co-owner of Simple Machine Brewing Company.

Simple Machine allowed Smith to start Kitsune Brewing out of their brew space, which was a boost during COVID, when times are tough.

"I would say alcohol and mortuaries were the two things that were COVID-proof during these times," said Smith.

Kitsune’s first flavors has been released. More brews, and maybe some new views, are on the way.

"When I hear first black-owned brewery, all I think about is this my opportunity to reach out, and shake the hands of the women, Latinos, and Blacks out there who maybe didn’t think this was an option for them," said Smith. "This was everything I hoped it could be. This is perfect."

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