Jun 20, 2020
Today’s guest was one of our 2019 Signifiers: an annual list our writers compile, in which we honor people in the industry who have made a lasting impact through their work.
Day Bracey is the co-founder of Fresh Fest, the first Black-culture-focused beer festival in the country. It’s also one of the best beer festivals in the country—period.
Hosted in Pittsburgh for the last two years, Fresh Fest has become a shining light in the city for culture and inclusion. It’s also drawn attendees from all over the country, putting Pittsburgh on the craft beer map in a way none of its individual breweries could.
This year, Bracey has working with the team to reinvent the festival amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, transitioning to an ambitious online platform of experiences for people that promises to foster a new kind of connectivity and community around the same premise.
In the week following this interview, Day shared some news on his personal Facebook account about some challenges the festival is facing going forward, including a legal rift with his co-founder Mike Potter, who started the Black Beer Culture brand. That rift was unknown to me at the time, and it’s not part of this conversation. Any potential fallout from that is also unknown to me right now, and our Sightlines team is working on it as I record this intro. Regardless of that outcome, which could threaten to undermine the festival’s efforts, or even existence, this year, Day has publicly stated that he’s moving forward with the plans.
The second part of the interview is about Day’s experiences in Pittsburgh as a Black man. We discuss the numerous protests in the city after the murder of George Floyd, the fight against rampant police brutality, and the Black Lives Matter movement. This experience includes some heartbreaking details. I consider this critical listening, regardless of how informed, or uninformed, you are on those issues.
This is Day Bracey of Fresh Fest. Listen in.