Essays — October 1, 2019 16:53 — 0 Comments

Bringing People Together Over A Pint

Below is a story from the print-only BARE MAGAZINE, vol. 2

Most of the world’s beer industry is comprised of white people. This has been true for hundreds of years, and it’s true today. But that may be slowly beginning to change thanks in part to a new wave of black-owned breweries and other brewers of color. One such pioneer is Rodney Hines, CEO and co-founder of Woodinville, Washington’s Métier Brewing. Rodney is a black man who has often found himself amidst clashes in culture in the U.S.

Hines remembers not long ago being in his local pub in Seattle’s Central District – a historically black neighborhood – but he didn’t see anyone who looked like him – not the staff, and not the patrons. He knew it wasn’t so facile and simplistic that black people don’t drink beer. Rather, he thought, there aren’t places that seem inviting to communities of color. So, he thought, he had to create that place. But, of course, diversity and inclusion can’t be the only aims. The beer has to be top-notch.


Hines, who grew up in Philadelphia, graduated from Bates College in Maine and dove into nonprofit grassroots in inner cities. “We’re constantly dealing with the history and results of inequality and social justice,” Hines explains. “I think that’s something we all own. We’re dealing with cycles of communities being impacted and not given fair access. I feel a responsibility to act on addressing these issues.”

Community has always been most important to Hines. Whether going to church with his family or brewing beer with buddies, the people he keeps in contact with influenced his moral compass. So, it was only natural that his love of community, his passion for social change, and his affinity for brewing, which began after college, led to him owning his own spot. “I started brewing beer in my early twenties,” he says. “Brewing is about hanging out, drinking beer, and making beer. I get excited about what can happen when people come together over a pint.”

Having worked at Starbucks and Microsoft, Hines knows well what it’s like to make significant changes as an employee inside a big company. Now, with his brewery, Métier, which he co-founded in 2018, Hines is the top dog in a small business. But the change that Métier can accomplish is no less important than what his old employees can accomplish. With Métier, Hines can help the brewing business learn to better reflect the community it ultimately aims to serve. “We are truly guided by a mission,” says Hines. “I want people to understand and feel this. We want to produce damn good beer and build a stronger community to inspire bigger dreams for all.”

Métier brews thirteen beers year-round, including the award-winning American Wheat and Coconut Porter, with a few other brews made throughout the years in collaborations with local breweries. Métier also recently collaborated with two-time James Beard Award-Winning chef, Edouardo Jordan, a celebrated black chef making waves in the culinary world. It’s these relationships Hines finds supremely valuable in an era when social change seems increasingly possible. “I’ve always wanted dto create a space where everyone feels welcomed and where they see themselves,” says Hines. “A place that sparks dialogue, conversation and action. Now, I’ve got one.”

At Métier, Hines says customers of color hang out over a pint, spend time with their family and enjoy the atmosphere. They seek his place out, he says, even though it’s not located in Seattle proper. Hines has eyes on opening more Métier taprooms in Washington to promote the vision he’s had since day-one as a professional: to help underrepresented people.

“Our vision is bigger than we are today,” he explains. “My desire is that Métier Brewing Company’s legacy will be its influence on this industry that does not look like us. We will help wake up this industry to understand and appreciate that for this business to grow it’s got to reflect and embrace the broader society. The beer industry has to look more like us.”


Jake Uitti is a founding editor of The Monarch Review.

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