Drake said we're "drinking every night because we drink to my accomplishments," and in 2021 why not do it with a Black-owned beer, wine or liquor of your choice, especially when the brand is also founded by women? Finding Black-owned liquor and wine can already be a challenge, but add woman-owned to that and the options dwindle even further. For context, less than 1% of all U.S. wineries are Black-owned, but Black people make up more than 10% of American wine consumption. The math here ain't mathing, and it's time to change that.
While I enjoy meeting up with friends at a bar to have a fancy cocktail and catch up, my half-year in quarantine had me appreciating stocking my bar cart and enjoying my sips at home. Personally, I'm a wine and whiskey kind of gal, but I still love to experiment with new brands that pique my interest. More recently I've been on a mission to support more Black-owned alcohol brands, and if a Black woman is behind it? Even better!
Check out some of these alcohol brands owned by Black women that you can bring to the next game night or have at home by yourself:
Founder: Abisola Abidemi
Tell us about Abisola Whiskey and why more women should be drinking whiskey.
Abisola: Our [whiskey] is a non-traditional, young whiskey that's here to celebrate the modern-day whiskey drinker. The typical whiskey drinker has changed and evolved; they've gotten younger, more women are drinking whiskey. I mean, there's this whole evolution of whiskey that has been happening for the past twenty years. I wanted to create a brand that celebrated this and celebrated people's every day achievements, all while creating a legacy for my generation.
"More women should be drinking whiskey because it tastes amazing! There's so much versatility with whiskey and you can see that by all the whiskies that are out there."
Take it straight, take a shot of it, make an amazing cocktail with it; whiskey can do it all. And so can women. Women can do it all, women are versatile and strong; honestly, it's a perfect match!
What has it been like entering the spirits industry as a Black woman? What have been some challenges?
It's been quite a whirlwind of rejection, of excitement, of meeting different people and being inspired. It's been overall amazing, even the rejections, even the negative feedback. I just launched in May of this year and have learned so much being in this industry. In terms of challenges, I will say that the largest one has been that sometimes I don't get taken seriously. I mean, you have a young girl with a young whiskey that tastes nothing like what's out there right now? So, there's a lot of doubt about whether or not this can even be good or how can people be interested in this?
I just nod my head and take it on the chin, you know? Because I believe in this, I believe in the taste, the brand, the celebration, all of it.
Founder: Marvina Robinson
Tell us about B. Stuyvesant Champagne.
Marvina: It's a boutique brand champagne that publicly launched in February 2020. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. —Bedford Stuyvesant—which is what the brand is named after. Being in the wine industry is very new for me, as I've worked on Wall Street for 20 years. I went to Norfolk State University for undergraduate and studied Biology, received my M.A. in statistics from Columbia University. I'm a lover of champagne and the original goal was to open a champagne bar. I wanted a private label for the bar. COVID forced me to pivot as it was not the best time to sign a new lease, and I was asked to put the bottles on shelves for retail. I was nervous because that was not my original plan, but it was the best decision I made.
How would you describe your journey into the champagne industry? What have been some challenges?
I am far from mainstream, I wish I could be mainstream but the brand is not a norm. I let it grow and branch out organically. I am not backed by any investors, celebrity names, or venture capitalist funding so I am doing everything on my own. I do not mind it at all because this is the best way to learn and it is a woman-made brand from the ground up.
I would say it has been interesting, some good and some bad. I always get asked, "Is this real champagne?" It can only be called champagne if it comes from the Champagne region [of France]. The bad is that I am questioned about the authenticity. The good is that the brand has been embraced by many and growing daily.
What are some goals for the brand going forward?
I would love to have the brand be global, as well as be the go-to brand for the hospitality industry. It's a lot of work for me but I am looking forward to doing the work in order for me to reach this goal!
Founder: Alisa Mercado
What has it been like entering the beer industry as a Black woman? What have been some challenges?
Alisa: It's been inspiring entering the beer industry as a Black woman as it allowed me to identify the lack of representation and to build and strive to change that. I was the first African-American, woman-owned beer brand in the state of Connecticut (fourth in the country). Challenges have included getting the brand out there like those that have been nationally distributed and around for decades. Our products can be found in locations such as Whole Foods, Total Wine, Trader Joe's, Big Y, and ShopRite, just to name a few.
What makes your beer stand out from others currently on the market?
Our beer is unique and stands out because we specialize in classic traditional beer, which are lagers. But we only identify with brands like Bud, Heineken, Coors and Corona. Our products are unfiltered which means there is a health benefit. We want to make sure that we drink in moderation but we also don't pump bad stuff into our bodies or our communities.
Founder: Nayana Ferguson
Would you describe your path as more mainstream or indie in regards to getting your brand out there?
Nayana: I think we are definitely leaning toward the indie path rather than mainstream [in order to get] the Anteel brand out there. When we started, we did not have the large budgets to follow a mainstream path that major brands can. We used social media consistently to grow our brand and my husband, who knows quite a bit about social media marketing, used some tactics to not only grow visibility for the brand, but to create a strong, dedicated following.
When we first launched in our home state, we visited over 150 retailers in three months, by ourselves, seeking product placement. We also conducted all the in-store tastings, handled all the marketing internally, and did the majority of our own PR outreach. Doing everything ourselves taught us a lot and kept us focused on turning Anteel Tequila into a well-known tequila brand around the country.
What has it been like entering the spirits industry as a Black woman?
As a Black woman owner, entering the spirits industry has had its challenges, but I have overcome them by focusing on my goals and by adapting when necessary. I am extremely grateful to be able to create a path for others to follow, where we can create brands that speak to our ingenuity, culture and vision.
It is extremely important to me to make sure that I am helping to inspire women to create and execute whatever vision they have for their lives and to bring diversity in the areas they choose to be a part of.
Women have to be fearless when creating the businesses that they are passionate about and not let obstacles deter them. I look forward to continuing to move forward on this path and bringing other women with me, so that we all can create our legacies.
What is your favorite cocktail to make with your tequila?
I have several favorite cocktails that we make with Anteel Tequila and it truly depends on the season. However, I would have to say that my favorite cocktail to make is the Coconut Lime Margarita. It is a very simple cocktail consisting of only three ingredients. It is a one-of-a-kind cocktail, since it is made with the world's only Coconut Lime Blanco Tequila and it is a cocktail that I can drink in any season.
Founder: Chrishon Lampley
Tell us about Love Cork Screw.
Chrishon: It's the wine and lifestyle brand you bring to a game night with friends, the brand you introduce to board members at an annual gala, and the brand you experience for the first time at a couples' paint-and-sip event. We know that we are not your traditional wine but because of our deep commitment to providing quality, we are sure to quickly become one of your favorites!
What does it mean to you to be one of only a small percentage of Black women in this industry and what have been some challenges?
Not being taken seriously as an African-American woman negociant (a wine trader or merchant), which did not give me the ability to build genuine relationships with wine decision-makers to reach the masses. Another challenge would be not receiving financial support from grants due to the industry.
Being one of only a small number of Black women in wine means a lot to me, and now I have more room to break glass ceilings till there's no more to be broken!
Image courtesy of Redd Rose
Founder: Taylor Jackson
Tell us about Redd Rose and the "why" behind starting your own brand.
It's a flavored vodka brand that is named after my grandmother Rose Redd, who was the first African-American woman to own a recycling business in Ohio. The brand is #BEcauseofHER. She was a first-class woman who defied the odds in creating a business that she worked and gave other people the opportunity to showcase their items to sell. She was strong, resilient, and outspoken. What better way [to honor her] than to create a brand in a male-dominated industry.
Would you describe your path as more mainstream or indie in regards to getting your brand out there?
Mainstream. When Redd Rose hit the market, I told her story first and my "why" per se. This is the most important, as Redd Rose is not the next vodka brand to just sit on the shelves, but the next Vodka brand to sit on your shelf. Something I realized is that people purchase what they like because they like it. There is no story or real person behind the majority of the marketplace, but Redd Rose has a story with a real personal behind it.
What makes your vodka stand out from the other brands?
Redd Rose can be sipped over ice, no mixer, no chaser. It's just that simple. It's a brand that is made for the hardworking, resilient, strong and confident women.
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Featured image via Getty Images
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Robin D. Thomas is a brunch loving, Brooklyn born and raised Licensed Social Worker currently working in the Bronx. When she's not writing about all things wellness, entertainment and love, you can find her eating her way through different cities and tending to her plants. Connect with her on IG and Twitter at @_MissRobin or on her Instagram wellness page @thisnoirethat.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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Featured image by Stephen Zeigler/Getty Images