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Breweries sharing Latino culture and promoting inclusivity through craft beer

Latino Brewery
Posted at 1:57 PM, Oct 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-15 13:57:54-04

MINNEAPOLIS, Mn. — The annual celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month wraps up on Oct. 15, but some businesses across the country are keeping that celebration going all year long.

They’re sharing Latino culture through craft beer.

These breweries are part of a mission to make craft beer more inclusive while educating others about their culture.

"Craft beer needed to become more diverse and needed to include more change and more people," said Sergio Manancero, owner of La Doña Cervecería in Minneapolis.

Manancero grew up in Minnesota, but his family is from Uruguay. He said he grew up around a growing immigrant population, and he was moved to start his own business after serving in the military.

"When I returned from the Marine corps in 2013 and started going to breweries in the Twin Cities, the kids I grew up with weren’t going to them and so I was trying to understand why," he said.

La Doña Cervecería was established in 2016 and opened a taproom two years later. It's the state's first Latino-influenced craft brewery.

"The whole idea and principle was to create a space for Latinos to get entrance into the craft beer scene because they were being left out," Manancero said.

For lager lovers and ale aficionados, La Doña is a place to connect with others, but for a growing part of the population, the brewery feels like a piece of home.

"Anybody can come in here and feel like they’re part of something," said Isa Pucci, a cashier for the brewery's kitchen.

Census Bureau data shows the Hispanic and Latino population in Minnesota grew 38% since 2010.

The brewery and kitchen staff is a diverse mix of people with roots in Central and South America.

"I was born in La Paz, Bolivia, and about 10 years ago, my dad actually moved here to Minnesota," Pucci said.

Manancero said La Doña was an opportunity to welcome the Latino community into the craft beer scene without feeling intimidated.

"You can have a beer and lower that self-consciousness," he said. "Then it’s educating the Latino community on what is an IPA and getting basic with them."

Latino culture is engrained into the brewery from the ingredients in their beers to the art on the walls to the events they offer, like three-on-three soccer games and conversation clubs.

"We’d set up tables - advanced, intermediate, beginner tables - and we invited people that wanted to learn Spanish to come," Manancero said.

"Even if you walk in here and you’re not Hispanic, you can find something for yourself here still," Pucci said.

Manancero hopes other industries will take note.

"I know what I’m doing is making beer and selling it to people, but it feels bigger than it is because of the way that we’re doing it," he said. "Write things in Spanish, host events that are around their holidays that are for them and then you can access them."