Molson Coors brews up investment, partnership with Wilmington-based TRU Colors
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — TRU Colors Brewery announced on Wednesday a partnership with national beverage company Molson Coors to accelerate its growth.
TRU Colors will launch its first beer in summer 2021 in North Carolina and Virginia, with plans to distribute to all 50 states within its first 24 months of operation.
Founded by George Taylor and rival gang leaders of the Bloods, Crips, and GD, TRU Colors is a for-profit brewery with a mission to stop street violence and unite communities across the country. TRU stands for Truth, Responsibility, and Unity.
The idea for TRU Colors was sparked five years ago when a 16-year-old was killed in a drive-by shooting. The company’s strategy is hiring active gang members and leveraging their skill and influence to end street violence.
“At TRU Colors, we believe most street violence is driven by a lack of economic opportunity and societal exclusion, and therefore an inclusive economic solution is needed to stop it,” Taylor said. “Brewed by once-bitter rivals, our beer will be a symbol of the understanding and unity that’s possible when people are open to change.”
Molson Coors is making an equity investment in TRU Colors and will serve as a strategic partner to assist the company with distribution strategy, brand positioning, supplier relationships, marketing and advertising consultation, and product formulation.
For Molson Coors, this is not only a strategic investment but also aligns with their “goal of increasing representation of people of color in our US operations by 25% by the end of 2023 across the country.”
“Last summer we said we were committed to meaningful long-term change inside and outside our business, and would make better efforts to leave a positive impact in communities throughout the country,” Gavin Hattersley, CEO of Molson Coors Brewing Company, said. “This partnership represents an opportunity to not only invest in what we believe will be a successful business, but also in a brand with a strong social justice presence that will have an immeasurable positive impact on hundreds of lives.”
The TRU Colors Brewery team is led by both Brian Faivre, a 20-year industry veteran and most recently Deschutes Brewery’s brewmaster, and Juan “Press” Bethea, an active member of the Bloods who has spent the past three years studying brewery operations and production alongside other local breweries.
“TRU Colors has changed my life and the streets in our city,” Bethea said. “Today, I’m working side-by-side with guys that I used to see as rivals, who, just like me, have lost friends and family to the streets. It’s hard to forget the past, but we all want a better future. My family now has a stable home, and my kids can be whoever they want to be. That is everything.”
TRU Colors is currently completing construction of its 56,000-square-foot facility in Wilmington. The brewery is capable of producing over 1 million cases per year and will serve as the company’s corporate office.
Their debut product, TRU Light, will be a lager that “bridges modern craft with iconic American beer.”
“Through our partnership with Molson Coors, and the incredible talent of our team, the opportunities for our business and social impact are endless,” Taylor said.