Local breweries raise money to support HCC students

Hampden County

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Holyoke Community College announced that four local breweries are introducing a new beer to raise money as a way to support students of color who enroll in the brewing program the college is offering.

The owners are introducing “As One,” as a new beer they brewed together for the HCC Foundation scholarship that benefits students of color enrolled in the college’s brewing program.

Spring semester at HCC begins March 29

The breweries will present the first scholarship installment check to HCC officials on Monday.

A short ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m on the White Lion Brewery in Springfield.

Some of the owners and founders who will be present are Ray Berry founder of White Lion Brewery, C.J. Eldridge, co-owner of Arcpoint Brewing in Belchertown, and Kevin Merritt, owner of Crue Brew Brewing in Raynham among others.

“The fabric of the craft beer trade doesn’t mirror the fabric of the communities we work, play and live in,” said Berry, White Lion’s founder.

The idea for the new beer came from C.J. Eldridge who learned about the experiences of black Massachusetts brewery owners in a historically white-dominated industry. 

“I saw all those guys in the article and it inspired me to want to get together with them and brew something and also bring some awareness. We want to attempt to spread brewing out to more people of color, not necessarily just black, but people of color in general, and get them into the business. Let them know what it’s about,” said Eldridge.

HCC debuted its beer, cider, and winemaking program back in 2020 and the goal is to make the brewing of “As One” an annual event that continues the scholarship fund at HCC over the years. 

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