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Craft Women Connect, Blk Brew Babes, Pontoon Brewing & The Atlanta Podcast | Pomona Paradise Smoothie-Style Fruited Sour

Pomona Paradise Smoothie-style Fruited Sour
Ruvani de Silva

Not one, not two, but three of Atlanta’s Black beer-community groups have joined forces with Pontoon Brewing to create the Pomona Paradise Smoothie-Style Sour. The beer came out of Pontoon’s ongoing Brewing Conversations project with The Atlanta Podcast–a community-focused initiative to raise awareness about inclusivity and racial issues in and around the Atlanta beer scene.

“The project was created to collaborate with People of Color in our community to create a beer and label art and feature them and their story on a live panel hosted by The Atlanta Podcast,” says Pontoon’s Marketing Manager, Shannon Riley. “And 20% of the proceeds of each beer go to a non-profit of the collaborators’ choosing.”

Celebrating History & Culture With Beer

The fourth beer in this series, brewed to celebrate Women’s History Month, the Pomona Paradise brought together Craft Women Connect (CWC) and Blk Brew Babes–two important groups raising the profile of Black women in beer. “Craft Women Connect reached out to be part of this conversation during Women’s History Month. We then brought in Blk Brew Babes as part of our initiative to support women growing in craft beer,” says CWC’s Britne Dionne.

Pomona Paradise Smoothie-style Fruited Sour
Pomona Paradise Smoothie-style Fruited Sour

Launched in 2019, Craft Women Connect began as an informal social group that evolved from a friendship between its founding members, Jen Price, Michelle Turner, Chris Hughes, and Britne Dionne and Caitlin Bradfield. Realizing there weren’t any spaces specifically for Women of Color to drink together, they began organizing weekly meet-ups that swiftly grew in numbers. When the pandemic hit, CWC made a successful transition to online get-togethers. CWC now has a membership of close to 1,500 across the country.

Beer reviewers and influencers Blk Brew Babes are Ally Crutchfield and Shonna Baskerville. Their fun, visual approach to beer-reviewing and beer education has made them popular and successful in their quest to bring craft beer to a more diverse audience. This made them natural partners for the project.

A Fruited Brew

Brewed with mango, blackberry, lime and raspberry, and named for the Roman goddess of fruit trees, gardens and orchards, the recipe for this delicious creation was led by CWC and Blk Brew Babes. “We all literally threw out ideas of fruits we would like to see come together,” say Crutchfield and Baskerville. “We definitely knew we wanted mango. Blackberry, raspberry, mango & lime were the last standing!”

Both CWC and Blk Brew Babes took part in the fruiting and canning days at Pontoon, where the beer was officially launched on March 27. The Atlanta Podcast broadcasted live.

Pomona Paradise launch with Craft Women Connect & Blk Brew Babes
Pomona Paradise launch with Craft Women Connect & Blk Brew Babes (credit Craft Women Connect)

The beer itself is bright and soft, with a smooth body. The tart, zingy lime adds a cocktail elegance to the fresh, juicy mango and tangy blackberry-raspberry. The fruits are ultra-fresh and authentic with moreish zest and barely-there sweetness that makes this utterly crushable, rain or shine.

With gorgeous can art designed by Meg Ryan Flanigan, this beer is a delicious and heartfelt celebration of Black women in beer. “The amount of support and love given was just so amazing, and we couldn’t have asked for our first collab to go any better!” say Crutchfield and Baskerville.

Riley is proud of Pontoon’s contribution to the project. “Watching Brewing Conversations grow has been amazing but my favorite part of this particular project was seeing the largest crowd we’ve had to date at one of the events,” she says. “As a female in the beer industry, it is so rewarding to see people come together and support what the amazing women in this community are doing and celebrate over some great beer!”

Listen to The Atlanta Podcast’s Pomona Paradise episode here.


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