Garrett Oliver Brews Up ‘Brewing for Impact’ Initiative

Garrett Oliver. Image Credit: Brooklyn Brewery.
Garrett Oliver. Image Credit: Brooklyn Brewery.

For over three decades Garrett Oliver, the James Beard Award Winning Brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery, has continued to be a beacon of innovation in the craft beer movement. In celebration of his 30th anniversary with Brooklyn Brewery this year, Oliver just unveiled the “Brewing for Impact” campaign, an initiative that not only honors Oliver’s influence but also embarks on a collaborative exploration with breweries worldwide, the brewery states.

For the “Brewing for Impact” initiative, Garrett has mobilized a diverse coalition of brewing partners including Maison Kalao from Senegal, Thornbridge from the UK, Omnipollo from Sweden, Carlsberg from Denmark, Russian River from the US, Jing-A from China and Guinness, alongside Brooklyn Brewery – each tasked with crafting a unique beer made with fonio, a grain in the millet family, which has thrived in West Africa for over 5,000 years. Since pioneering fonio brewing in 2019, Garrett aims to further illuminate the super grain’s brewing prowess with this campaign, while also nodding to beer’s origins in Africa, according to the brewery.

“In some ways ‘Brewing For Impact’ is the most important work I’ve ever done,” says Oliver in a news release. “If what we’ve started truly catches hold in the industry, we will hopefully start seeing the wider use of a grain that has no need for irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides or other chemical inputs. It also supports soil regeneration while providing a vital source of income for thousands of smallholder farms in West Africa, which are predominantly female-led…all while making some really fantastic beers. What more can you ask for?”

Image credit: Brooklyn Brewery.

Beer Collaborations Throughout the Year

Rolling out throughout 2024, the global campaign will feature a series of limited edition beers that spotlight fonio, with each respective brewery contributing its own expertise and creativity to the lineup, the brewery states. The collaborations, listed in order of their release, are as follows:

  • April – Maison Kalao (Senegal): The “Brooklyn A Dakar” Pilsner is the latest from a newer lineage of fonio beers at Maison Kalao, initiated after witnessing Oliver’s use of the grain grown in their own country. 
  • May – Thornbridge (UK): Thornbridge Brewery is introducing the world’s first Pale Ale – Cask Beer made with fonio. This blend is rooted in Oliver’s admiration for British cask ale.
  • June – Omnipollo (Sweden): Omnipollo’s “Blacker Chocolate Stout” reimagines the first beer Oliver ever brewed for Brooklyn Brewery – “Black Chocolate Stout” – with a focus on fonio’s sustainability. 
  • July – Carlsberg Laboratory (Denmark): The launch of a 100% fonio beer is a collaboration with Carlsberg Research Lab, showcasing both Carlsberg’s and Garrett’s enthusiasm for exploring fonio’s potential in beer.
  • August – Russian River (US): Russian River’s Fonio Belgian blonde ale emerges from the friendship between Garrett and the owners of Russian River, Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo.
  • September – Brooklyn Brewery (US): Brooklyn Brewery adds to its fonio beer lineup with a new pale ale. 
  • October – Jing-A (China): The West Coast IPA made with fonio underscores a unique connection between Oliver and Jing-A – who first introduced Garrett to Beijing’s brewing culture. 
  • November – Guinness (US): Guinness’s “Fonio Stout” highlights Garrett’s long-time adoration and respect for the brand – who have deep roots in Africa and around the world – and reflects his personal ties to Ireland.

Through the “Brewing for Impact” campaign, Oliver seeks to highlight fonio’s adaptability and its role in ushering in a brewing future centered on sustainability and social awareness, the brewery states. The widespread interest from breweries around the globe in joining this campaign underscores Oliver’s contributions to craft beer and his mission.



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