“Inclusion over everything” is the tagline that drives Corey Hoffman, one craft beer at a time.
From his first home brewing kit in 2017 to releasing the Here For It IPA in 2020 in a partnership with Decipher Brewing, Hoffman knew he would have his own brewery one day.
The up-and-coming head brewer is getting closer to that checkpoint by having a block party fundraiser “From the Jump” to jump-start his Neon Culture Brewing on Saturday, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Decipher Brewing.
The funds collected will go towards building and opening up the brewery, one that according to Hoffman will be the first Black-owned in Charlottesville and only the second in the state.
“I’ve noticed that there weren’t a lot of minorities or people of color or people that look like me in the brewing world,” Hoffman said. “I started doing research and a lot of it is because access to capital is very hard for minorities. I started taking it upon myself as a mission to build inclusion and create that space.”
Hoffman says that when he created the Here For It IPA two years ago, he wanted to raise awareness for minority brewers. The IPA was made with five varieties of hops and local craft malt from Murphy & Rude Malting in Charlottesville. A portion of the proceeds went to the Minnesota-based Brewing Change Collaborative, which promotes diversity, equality and inclusion in the craft beer industry.
At a fundraiser to open a brewery, one must have brews. For the event, Hoffman and Decipher Brewing prepared three beers including a citrusy New Zealand-style pilsner, an award-winning imperial mole stout and a hazy IPA.
No block party is complete without a food truck and Neon Culture Brewing will be backed by three. Vegan Comforts Soul Food, Elbows Macaroni and Cheese Kitchen and Legaci Eats will take care of the hungry while DJ Double U and Elizabeth Wise will entertain the visitors. Neon Culture Brewing merchandise, from t-shirts to pins and stickers, will be available for sale.
When talking about the inspiration for his brewery’s name, Hoffman cites influences. The “Neon” part comes from him growing up in the 1990s and being influenced by neon lights and pop culture. “Culture” derives from his mission to create a culture of racial inclusion that is missing from the brewing industry.
“We’re trying to be like a catalyst for a new culture where everybody’s involved in the craft brewing scene and can be themselves, hang out and learn about craft beer,” he said.
Hoffman hopes to open the brewery sometime next year.