First Sip Brew Box reinvigorating the craft beer business model | The Triangle

First Sip Brew Box reinvigorating the craft beer business model

The First Sip Brew Box with all kinds of goodies. (Photograph courtesy of First Sip.)

When you talk about craft beer as a whole, the conversation focuses on a few avenues and sticks with them.

What kind of beers do you like? Are you into IPAs — you don’t look like an IPA person — or stouts? What about sours?

What’s your favorite brewery? Who is the best beer distributor in your area? Which beer are you dying to have again?

These questions are all wonderful and can lead to countless hours of conversation — and for some, an ensuing road trip to the nearest or farthest brewery — but that isn’t where the conversation should end.

Picking up where the conversation leaves off, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is First Sip Brew Box. This craft beer media company is entering the arena of craft beer with an entirely new focus.

First Sip asks questions such as, “What about the brewery gear?” They wonder, “Don’t you want the iconic brewery glasses that make your beer look ten times cooler than it already is?” They think like a winery, and ask, “What foods would go perfectly with this beer?” And, best of all, they think, “What breweries could be highlighted that people might not know about?”

With it comes “a monthly subscription or one-time gift box for the ultimate craft beer enthusiast as a vehicle to showcase craft breweries and highlight craft beer cities around the globe.”

Photograph courtesy of First Sip.

The focus of owners Dennis and Sammie Guy is to “expand your horizons and introduce you to top breweries and small businesses that know their hops.” The box is delivered directly to your door, and every time the box is shipped out on the 15th every month. Instead of the monthly food or makeup subscriptions — or that monthly gym subscription that is collecting far too much dust — you can receive a whole lot more to your door to go along with the beer you have.

This Black-owned, small local business is already making waves, and is flipping the script on what it means to exist in the craft beer industry — sans the alcohol.

This year, First Sip won a nationwide Craft Beer Marketing Award: Best Original Video Storytelling.

First Sip’s video “Fearless” follows CEO and owner Dennis Guy’s path to forging his career with First Sip. He discusses his childhood, his mother’s battle with lung cancer and the lasting impact she has left on him. The two-minute and 37-second video hits home and leaves you wanting to hug your mom a little tighter if you still can.

Not only was First Sip one of the few businesses in Pennsylvania to win an award, but they were the only Black-owned business to win an award. That second fact is something that simply cannot be ignored.

First Sip helps bring the conversation of diversity and inclusion to the table of an industry largely dominated by white-owned breweries, and their collaborations with local businesses and breweries allows them to bring about a larger community of craft beer lovers while representing the minority in the craft.

Speaking of collaborations with local breweries and businesses, First Sip is joining with Couch Brewery in Pittsburgh and Abjuration Brewing in McKees Rocks to help with the Black Is Beautiful initiative that is being spearheaded by Weathered Souls Brewing Company in San Antonio, Texas.

Black is Beautiful is a “craft beer collaborative effort to raise awareness for the injustices people of color face daily and to raise funds for police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged.”

The goal of the Black Is Beautiful initiative, beer-wise, is to brew a “moderately high abv. stout to showcase the different shades of Black.” While Weathered Souls is okay with brewers tweaking the recipe to make it their own, they are asking for all of the collaborations they can get.

As of June 24, there are 909 breweries from all 50 states and 17 countries participating in brewing the “Black Is Beautiful” beer. First Sip, Couch and Abjuration are representing some of the breweries in the Pittsburgh community who are joining in.

In terms of Pennsylvania, there are 35 different breweries brewing “Black Is Beautiful,” either individually or in collaboration with others.

As First Sip plans to work together with Couch and Abjuration to create their own flavor of the beer, they hope that they not only show their support and solidarity, but also spread awareness in the process. And, as they said in a press release, “100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to a local charity.”

After chatting with Georgia Lawrence, First Sip’s media contact, The Triangle was able to get an update on when the beer is set to be available.

“As of right now, we don’t have a set release date,” Lawrence explained. “Dennis is meeting with the other breweries in the next two weeks to start brewing. Once completed it should be finished within 30 days or less!”

For Philadelphia’s beer scene, anyone interested in trying a Philly “Black Is Beautiful” brewery should reach out to Two Locals Brewing, Attic Brewing, Evil Genius Brewing or Love City Brewing, and find out when they are set to release their own versions.

And while all the breweries who are fiercely focusing on making their “Black is Beautiful” in these coming weeks, First Sip will be focusing on what local goods, foods and gifts would go perfectly with the beer, and will be ready to ship their boxes to the subscribers on July 15 — and only they know what’s going to be in there until then.

For more information check out First Sip’s website at

Photograph courtesy of First Sip.