WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - TRU Colors Brewery announced a strategic partnership with Molson Coors Beverage Company Wednesday, a move that will help accelerate TRU Colors’ mission-based brand.
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.
TRU Colors is a social impact company founded by tech entrepreneur George Taylor and operated by rival gang leaders of the Bloods, Crips, and GD with a social mission to end street violence and unite communities.
The brewery team is led by 20-year brewery veteran Brian Faivre and brewmaster Juan “Press” Bethea, an active member of the Bloods who has been studying brewery operations for three years.
“TRU Colors has changed my life and the streets in our city,” said Bethea. “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.”
The partnership is expected to drive TRU Colors’ growth and distribution with the goal of launching its first beer by summer 2021 in North Carolina and Virginia. The brewery plans to expand distribution to all 50 states within its first 24 months of operation.
“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,” said George Taylor, CEO of TRU Colors. “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. Through our partnership with Molson Coors and the incredible talent of our team, the opportunities for our business and social impact are endless.”
Molson Coors will gain ground with its goal to foster a more inclusive and diverse culture within its company.
“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,” said Gavin Hattersley, CEO of Molson Coors Brewing Company. “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.”
TRU Colors operates out of a 56,000 square-foot facility on Greenfield Street in Wilmington. Beyond housing the brewing operation, the facility is expected to eventually include a wellness center, gym, recording studio, classrooms for education, a designated space for the “street intervention team” and more.