WILMINGTON, N.C. – TRU Colors Brewery is launching its first brew, TRU Light, rolling out in markets across North Carolina. Three years in the making, the product will hit shelves across the state by the end of October, with plans to distribute regionally in early 2022 and scale nationally by 2023. The company, with a stated mission to unite communities to stop divisiveness and violence across America, has recruited and trained a skilled workforce since inception, providing jobs, training, and mentorship to active gang members.
In tandem with their first beer launch, TRU Colors is operating in its new 54,000 square-foot headquarters located in downtown Wilmington. In addition to the state-of-the-art production facility, the new HQ provides exciting wraparound services for their employees, as well as a taproom that will open to the public in early 2022.
“We are excited to get TRU Light in the hands of our neighbors and show them what we have created, and I am proud of all the hard work and effort that has gotten us here,” said George Taylor, Co-Founder, and CEO of TRU Colors. “This is our first step in showing what’s possible when people are open to change, and with TRU Light we hope to spark conversations with friends and family about how we can be there for each other in new and impactful ways.”
At 95 calories and 2.6 carbs, TRU Light is appropriately brewed to become a go-to beer for those celebrating any occasion. The brewery team, helmed by former Brooklyn Brewmaster Adam Young, created TRU Light as a symbol of understanding and unity. The premium light beer carries a low ABV of 4.2% making it drinkable in any season, and has a slightly sweet taste coming from the malt.
“Getting the opportunity to get this beer on the shelves in our community, and eventually nationwide, has been an incredible experience,” says Adam Young, Head Brewer at TRU Colors. “One that has definitely been more impactful thanks to our deeply ingrained social mission.”
The brewery is 33,000 square feet and can produce up to 200 cans per minute. Additionally, it is fully outfitted with 16 fermentation tanks and three bright tanks, a five-vessel 65-barrel brewhouse, and a full canning and kegging line to package and distribute. The facility will be able to produce 1.4 million cases/ equivalents annually. In a previously announced strategic partnership with Molson Coors, TRU Colors plans to expand to Virginia and D.C by early 2022 and distribute to all 50 states within its first 24 months of operation.
Just as TRU is so much more than a beer company, the building is so much more than a basic brewery HQ. The facility includes administrative offices and classrooms, a 1,500 square foot gym with a yoga studio, and a recording studio. All reflecting the company’s vision for the future, these elements align with TRU’s mission of social justice through education, empowerment, and community betterment.
“We are a people-first company,” said Khalilah “KO” Olokunola, Chief People Officer of TRU Colors. “That’s why throughout our building phase we listened to what our employees needed. Some of those things are physical, like a classroom or a gym, but others, like dealing with trauma or learning how to budget for a big expense are harder to see and work on,” she continued. “That’s why we’re unique at TRU Colors, we are here to help people and brew beer in that order.”
Followed by a three-month internship with a mutually selected department, TRU Colors employees first go through an 8-week onboarding program called DisruptU, which focuses on teaching personal and financial wellness, along with leadership, business, and beer skills. After the program is completed, employees move into different parts of the brewery and eventually are brought on as full employees with an equity stake in the company. As a part of the TRU Colors team, new employees are able to leverage their skill and influence in their respective gangs to stop street violence and its drivers, ultimately uniting the Wilmington community and expanding their social mission nationwide.
About TRU Colors
Founded in 2019 by a tech entrepreneur and rival gang leaders from the Bloods, Crips, and GD’s, TRU Colors is a for-profit brewery based in Wilmington, NC with a tightly integrated social mission to stop street violence and unite communities across America. Over 70% of the TRU Colors team are active gang members whose street skills and influence translate into corporate skills and more peaceful streets. TRU Colors is committed to economic equity and provides a livable wage, company-paid healthcare, equity through stock options, health and wellness center, and more. The company’s mission is to brew beer, relationships, and share stories that challenge perceptions and bring understanding that leads to unity.
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