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BY Abu Mubarik, 5:45pm February 16, 2024,

How a Navy veteran became the first Black brewer in Augusta, Georgia

Richard Young III. Image via WJBF

The brewery industry in America continues to see more black participation although the sector is still widely dominated by whites. Brewing industry data shows that Black Americans represent about 12% of U.S. beer drinkers, but only 1% of breweries are owned by Blacks.

In several states and cities across America, blacks are opening breweries, earning the bragging rights as the first persons of color to do so. One of them is Richard Young III, who made history recently as being behind the first Black-owned brewery in Augusta, Georgia. He is behind Tapped 33 Craft Brewery.

A U.S. Navy veteran, Young became a beer fan during his college years. His love for the beverage grew when he was stationed in Germany and the Czech Republic.

He decided to try crafting beer for fun upon his return to the States. After his first craft beer missed the mark in flavor, things got better after he added some ingredients on his fifth time mixing. After perfecting his craft, he was ready to expand the beer he created into Tapped 33 Craft Brewery.

“It was a dream, now it’s coming true as cliché as it might sound but I really feel like once you put in the hard work once you dedicate yourself to something it’ll happen,” he told wrdw.com last December.

“Just seeing it in cans and seeing it on the shelf … it’s surreal. It’s a blessing, and it’s one of those things that I can’t put into words because this all started as me dreaming and thinking that I just wanted to create a beer for my friends,” he said.

The 33 in Tapped 33 Craft Brewery has three meanings. According to Blavity, “the number 33 connects the repeal of Prohibition in the United States with The Garden City and Young’s favorite hometown hero, legendary singer James Brown. Augusta sits on the earth’s 33rd parallel. The nationwide alcohol ban ended on Dec. 5, 1933, and the “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” artist was born in 1933.”

For his brewery business, Young did not depend entirely on his passion and experience. He also took classes to learn more about building his brewery. The Atlanta native took some vital resources from the Brewers Association, which supports Black brewers, and the Georgia Small Business Development. 

What is more, he volunteered at the Savannah River Brewing Company, and thanks to his relationship with the team there, he has been using that brewery for Tapped 33 production.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 16, 2024


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