Naomi Waltengus, a resident of the Riggs Park, is a current Talent on Tap Scholarship recipient. They are at Craft Beer Cellars at 301 H Street in northeast Washington, picking beers produced in the D.C. area for certification assignments. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)
Naomi Waltengus, a resident of the Riggs Park, is a current Talent on Tap Scholarship recipient. They are at Craft Beer Cellars at 301 H Street in northeast Washington, picking beers produced in the D.C. area for certification assignments. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

Over the years, more breweries owned by people of color are opening for business. In support of career opportunities in the industry, the Talent on Tap Scholarship targets women of color who can rise to leadership positions in brewing.

The scholarship is open to all women-identifying people of color 18 years or older interested in pursuing education related to the beer industry. The scholarship application deadline is Feb. 1.

The award provides financial support for many educational pursuits, such as Cicerone Certifications that focus mainly on the hospitality industry, Beer Science programs, brewing training and other hospitality certifications. City Brew Tours is sponsoring the scholarship for a second year and is accepting applications for the Talent on Tap Scholarship program. City Brew Tours is an award-winning curator of craft beer tours and experiences in North America.

“Craft beer is now made and sold in every state in the U.S. including the District of Columbia, with creative expression shown in limitless brews nationwide. But for many people, there are barriers breaking into the brewing industry. City Brew Tours is dedicated to helping our industry become a more diverse and safe environment for women of all backgrounds to thrive,” said Chad Brodsky, founder and CEO of City Brew Tours.

Naomi Waltengus, a resident of the Riggs Park community in Washington, D.C., is a current scholarship recipient. They used the award to enroll in the Prud’homme Beer Certification program, Canada’s leading beer education program. Waltengus is working to build knowledge in the beer industry.

“I really enjoy beer, and I wanted to learn more about how it’s created. I wanted a holistic education about beer which Prud’homme provides,” said Waltengus. “I wanted to go more into beer history, pairings, tastings and how to taste.”

When Waltengus works on assignments leading to the certification, Craft Beer Cellars at 301 H Street NE in the District is the place to go. April Shettle-Magee is a manager at the store.

“Naomi comes in with a list of beers and we help pick those out,” said Shettle-Magee on planning beer selections for Waltengus. “We’ll come up with a very authentic European style, then an American rendition of that same style.”

By definition, an American craft brewer is a small and independent brewer. Shettle-Magee said the growth in breweries in America has grown exponentially in the past two decades, but sales have declined during the pandemic. The D.C. area has one of the largest concentrations of Black-owned breweries and beers. Local Black-owned brands include Liquid Intrusion Brewing Company, Joyhound Beer Company, Black Viking Brewing, Urban Garden Brewing, Sankofa Beer Company and Soul Mega.

Waltengus is striving to develop a beer palate while becoming proficient in beer tastings and creating tasting groups. They feel people unfamiliar with craft beers may see drinking the beverages as pretentious. That viewpoint has changed now that they are in the scholarship program. Waltengus, an American University graduate, has tested the learned skills by hosting a tasting for queer women of color.

“I do want to find a way to work in the beer industry, but it’s hard right now with the pandemic,” said Waltengus, who also works at an Alexandria nonprofit, while building the necessary beer expertise. “I feel that tasting groups would democratize beer knowledge, and I could share my knowledge.”

Information on the scholarship is on the City Brew Tours website at https://www.citybrewtours.com/talent-on-tap.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

The Washington Informer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WashingtonInformer

Twitter and Instagram: @washinformer

Brenda Siler

Twitter and Instagram: @bcscomm

City Brew Tours

Website: https://www.citybrewtours.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/citybrewtours

Twitter and Instagram: @CityBrewTours

Craft Beer Cellar

Website: https://dc.craftbeercellar.com  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cbcwashingtondc

Twitter and Instagram: @cbc_dc

Black-Owned Breweries and Beer in the DMV

Liquid Intrusion Brewing Company: https://www.libcobeer.com

Joyhound Beer Company: https://www.joyhoundbeercompany.com

Black Viking Brewing: https://blackvikingbrewing.com

Urban Garden brewing: https://www.urbangardenbrewing.com

Sankofa Beer Company: https://www.sankofabeer.comSoul Mega:  https://soulmega.com/the-beer

Brenda Siler is an award-winning journalist and public relations strategist. Her communications career began in college as an advertising copywriter, a news reporter, public affairs producer/host and a...

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