By: Manny Otiko , IVN
Los Angeles, CA — The Black Bourbon Society recently finished up its Open Door stop in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles tour featured area bars such as Alta, Post & Beam, The District by GS and Lock & Key. The Open Door tour also included Black-owned bars in Oakland, Orlando, Fla., Houston, Texas and Charlotte, N. C.
The nationwide tour was sponsored by Jim Beam.
The Black Bourbon Society is the brainchild of Samara Davis. Davis is a native of Los Angeles who moved to Atlanta, Ga. where she owns her own marketing company. She created the Black Bourbon Society because she was not happy with the way the spirits industry marketed its products to African-Americans.
She noticed the industry was marketing its product through the urban market, which is a younger demographic. Davis felt that the spirits industry overlooked older African-American consumers, who have disposable income and appreciate luxury goods.
“I wanted to create a community of Black bourbon drinkers to prove to brands we are a worthy base,” said Davis.
Davis added that she also felt the marketing was exploitative. While the companies used hip-hop personalities in their marketing products, they didn’t invest in Black-owned businesses.
“They’re not investing in Black-owned bars or furthering the relationship in other ways,” Davis added.
The Black Bourbon Society works with companies in the spirits industry to connect with the African-American market. Some of the other brands they are working with include Jack Daniels, Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve.
The society currently has 30,000 members around the country. Working with Black-owned bars around the country, Davis said she noticed some cultural and regional differences. For example, in Charlottesville, there is a burgeoning scene of Black bartenders and Black restaurant owners.
“There are a lot of opportunities for Black-owned businesses,” she said. The group’s Charlottesville event drew 50 people. However, the group in LA was much smaller.
The group also provides networking opportunities for Black business professionals in the hospitality industry across the country.
“This is an opportunity to learn what’s happening in other cities,” said Davis.
The Black Bourbon Society is having its national convention in Louisville, Ky. on Labor Day weekend. According to Davis, the event will include a tour of distilleries, and tasting and networking events.
For more information about the Black Bourbon Society go to www.blackbourbonsociety.com. Photo Credit: Shelton Bolter Photography.