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Partnership brews project in honor of Black History Month

For the second year in a row, Second Chance Beer Company collaborated with the All My Friends Are Rappers brand to brew All I Want, a hoppy Kolsch style beer in honor of Black History Month.

All I Want, which will be available on draft and in four-packs of 16-oz cans, is 4.6% alcohol by volume and contains a citrus zest hop aroma along with a crisp malt finish. Head Brewer Marty Mendiola initially worked with All My Friends Are Rappers Executive Director Kemet Ackee last January to create the beer. Ackee is a San Diego native and nine-year Army veteran, who also is a member of Second Chance’s brewing, brand ambassador, and beer tender teams.

All My Friends Are Rappers was founded by Ackee in 2020 after he retired from the Army and returned to San Diego from Fort Bragg, N.C. The company’s mission is to promote positivity, self-expression, creativity, and talent throughout the community. The mission of the limited release is to develop more awareness and educational opportunities in the craft beer industry for underrepresented communities.

The Spring Valley resident, Ackee attended Monte Vista High School, then enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving in Germany, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Hawaii, and Fort Bragg, N.C. Although his job was in food service, he also worked in transportation, and operations, worked in airborne and earned his aviation wings. Ackee was deployed twice, once to Afghanistan, and then to Syria. Ackee said after leaving the Army, he was transitioning into firefighting, but while waiting for the last results, he had come home to San Diego, COVID-19 hit, the academy had shut down, so he made the decision to finish his out-processing and moved back to San Diego.

“I came back and started my brand,” he said. “I started just ordering shirts with designs I thought I would like. Then I created the logo with a friend of mine, filed for the LLC, and started to make it real.”

Ackee said during this he was also washing cars, working with Paving Great Futures, a nonprofit that helped him complete his business plan, financial guidance, and building the structure of his clothing line company.

“With All My Friends Are Rappers, we have done a lot of community work, food distribution for COVID, back to school drives,” he said. “I have been vending at a lot of shows and concerts and events throughout the city and community. It has been accepted largely by the community. Everywhere we go, we sell out. That lets me know that we have a great product.”

Then Ackee got a job at Second Chance Beer Company in 2021.

“They were doing some diversity and equity hiring within the craft beer industry and I got notification from Paving Great Futures that they would hire me in the craft beer industry, and specifically Second Chance was looking for diversity in its hiring,” he said. “I was hired. Being in the industry and learning how craft beer is as a culture, how its made, its different varieties and styles, it drew my interest in because it is an art. It is all about creativity and that aligns parallel with my beliefs, and with All My Friends Are Rappers. We are all about art, creativity, and expressing yourself, and critical thinking. It takes all of that to make beer.”

Ackee said he wanted to do something different with his brand and separate himself from other apparel brands, so he approached the owners of Second Chance about collaborating their beer with his brand.

Second Chance co-founder and CEO Virginia Morrison said it is special to be able to collaborate with one of its own team members who founded a brand that aligns so closely to Second Chance Beer Company’s commitment to inclusivity.

“We hope All I Want can inspire people of all backgrounds to get involved in our great craft beer industry here in San Diego,” she said. “This limited-release beer is a celebration of the Black community and really the power of all our communities when we realize there’s more that unites us than divides us.”

On Jan. 21, an All I Want launch party featured local musical talent at Second Chance’s Carmel Mountain brewery and taproom, with performances by Cali the Dreamer, Drecat, Ric Scales, and Calikfresh (Ackee himself).

“We can bring a whole community into craft beer which I think is untapped,” he said. “There are not a lot of black and brown people that I see in the industry. Mainly because of a lack of education and lack of knowledge about the craft beer industry, I do not feel that it is being gatekept or guarded, it is just that people do not take interest in things they do not know about. You do not know all the things that you can do in craft beer if you do not have an interest in it. I wanted to educate people about what craft beer is and the different things that you can do in the industry. Bringing more attention to it will bring more people to it. I want to see more of my community in the craft beer workforce and I want to be part of that process.”

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Source: East County Californian

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