An Atlanta craft brewery aims to contribute to the fight against racial injustice with its latest beer.
Decatur-based Wild Heaven Beer, which has a second outpost at the Lee + White development in West End, released its newest concoction Friday, June 5th. The beer, a New England IPA, quotes Martin Luther King Jr. with its moniker. It is called “Silence Is Betrayal,” and 100% of the proceeds from sales of the first edition will benefit Atlanta’s Russell Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. A portion of proceeds from future editions will go to the organization.
With protestors taking to the streets around the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in police custody, Wild Heaven founders Eric Johnson and Nick Purdy “consider it important that their company find a way to contribute in a meaningful and sustainable way to helping solve the issues of systemic racial injustice in Atlanta,” according to a news release.
“I look forward to using our company’s voice and resources to offer time, space and amplification to the work RCIE is doing in Atlanta,” Purdy said in a prepared statement. “Herman J. Russell was one of the great leaders and builders of Atlanta and we are honored to do anything we can to help perpetuate that legacy.”
Russell founded H.J. Russell & Co., a construction and real estate firm, in 1953. The business grew into one of the largest minority-owned companies in the United States. Russell died at the age of 83 in 2014.
Launched in 2019, the Russell Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, based in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood west of downtown, offers workshops, classes and co-working spaces. The organization is “devoted to empowering African American entrepreneurs and small business owners,” per its website. In 2016, the organization secured a $2.9 million investment from the U.S. Department of Commerce to fund the design and renovation of its home office at 504 Fair St. SW.
“We are thankful for the chance to take what we do and help others find their pathways to success, especially those for whom unjust systems make it all the more difficult,” Johnson said.
The Atlanta protests of Floyd’s death have gone on nightly since Friday, May 29th. With looting and property damage taking place, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has gained national prominence thanks to her impassioned response.
“The only way forward is through collaboration,” RCIE president and CEO Jay Bailey said. “Bringing the best of Atlanta’s business community together to provide the necessary access, opportunity, exposure and resources to help companies grow and thrive.”