A burly, bearded gentleman outfitted in plaid guzzles a double-dry hopped lager next to a tattooed laden woman dressed in black. She’s sipping an orange Hefeweizen. The music in the background is a random song from a 90’s alternative hits playlist beaming from the house sound system. This is the type of scenario many associate with today’s craft beer scene. So it’s no wonder my eyes set ablaze when they spotted a glitch in the stereotypical craft beer matrix. His drink of choice: Guinness. His look: A black male who sports a close to obsessive amount of red with glasses on his face, gold in his mouth and an unrelenting passion for a culture that wouldn’t typically view him as its ambassador. And yet, that’s exactly what he is.
Dom b.k.a. Dooch has no problem shouting out his favorite brewers, breweries and beers or pouring a huge ass Belgian ale into a huge ass glass for the gram. All of this while being a full-time family man, entrepreneur and employee in the industry he champions with every new social media post. Under the moniker Dooch, Dom’s authentic love for the culture of craft beer resonates in so many people that he has amassed a loyal online following and an even greater reputation for having his finger on the pulse of the craft beer scene and for being a craft beer trendsetter.
Since its debut, his Beer Kulture imprint has been elevating to new heights within and outside of the craft beer scene. Black, white and red tee’s adorned with the logo letters “K-L-T-U-R-E” (bubbly beer teku in place of the first “U”) can be seen worn by everyone from novice craft beer drinkers to established cider-makers and brewers all over the social mediaverse. So just how is Beer Kulture bubbling into such an influential brand? I caught up with Dooch to answer that question and many more. Check it out below!
Let’s talk about Dooch!
TA: First off, I have to know, what was your introduction into the craft beer scene? Was it a particular beer you drank or an event you attended? How did you go from drinking the regular stuff to some of the finer brews in life?
Dooch: My intro to a new drinking experience came by way of a book that I stumbled upon some years ago. It was a book about the story of the Guinness family and their brewery and it was a story unlike any other revolving around beer. The crazy thing is, I was completely dry at the time. I hadn’t touched an alcoholic drink in like 7 years before reading that book so it was a dope enough experience that got me into drinking again. Once I got the ball rolling though I just started to stumble upon new beers that I have never heard of or seen and it was a wrap after that.
TA: Do you have a favorite style of beer or a favorite hop? If so, what? If not, why not?
Dooch: My favorite style of beer would be a tropical stout with a few of the other styles of stout following close behind but I don’t put much focus on favorites with beer. I enjoy all kinds of styles and my mood dictates what I drink day-to-day. I definitely don’t have a “favorite” hop. I feel like in this climate hops are given too much attention by consumers and brewers. Hops are great, but I’d rather see people know all the different kinds of grain used and the aroma and flavor profiles that they bring to the table.
TA: From following your personal account on Instagram I know you passed your Cicerone (certified beer server) exam a while back. Congratulations again on that one by the way. How did you feel when you received your certification and how has gaining the certification changed or influenced your life?
Dooch: So, the Cicerone program has four different levels, the very first level is a Certified Beer Server (CBS), the second part is a Certified Cicerone®️, then Advanced Cicerone and finally Master Cicerone. The last time that I checked the Certified Cicerone’s passing rate was below 50 percent and as you reach higher the percentage of people who pass continues to drop. I am actually a Certified Cicerone®️, level 2 and I can’t lie, when I passed it I was hype as f***. A lot of time, sweat, sacrifice and money went into acquiring it and it ended up paying off. Gaining it was dope, but the growth and change happens while one is in pursuit of it, that’s where you’re learning and growing. Once you receive the certificate you just celebrate before you get back to work because you never stop learning.
TA: On your social media you often juxtapose rap music and beer. Name some of your favorite hip-hop artists and some of your favorite beers and explain why?
Dooch: That’s a loaded question, I grew up in the golden era of Hip-Hop so some of my favorites then were Wu-Tang, Biggie, Big Pun, Nas, Big L – I can go on but I’m sure you get the picture. But in this climate of music I love listening to people like Nipsey Hussle and YG, but everything else is a go too and I love to listen to a lot of the new up-and-coming mumble rappers as well. Lyrics always catch me, but I’m not always in the mood for lyrics. Sometimes I want a story and sometimes I just want real life pain, it just depends.
As far as favorite beers, it just comes down to what I’m in the mood for “for real, for real” and I would swap out the word favorite with go-to. Certain go-to beers of mine are Lefthand Milk Stout, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, Dragon Stout, Saison DuPont, Sunshine City IPA, Früh Kölsch, Weinhenstephaner Hefeweizen, man the list can go on. Whatever style I’m in the mood for I have a go-to that I know is done right and will always be enjoyable. But, if someone said I could only drink one beer for the rest of my life I’d be f******.
TA: So beyond your unconventional look, what do you think it is about you and the Beer Kulture brand that has captivated so many craft beer enthusiasts?
Dooch: I wouldn’t say that we’ve captivated craft beer enthusiasts, at least that’s not our intention, but we welcome them nonetheless. Beer Kulture is exactly what you said, it’s unconventional. We don’t fit into the “craft beer box” and we refuse to try to and I think that’s one thing that sets us apart. We are ourselves. Another thing is not being afraid to speak our minds. We bring a fresh face and a fresh spirit to an otherwise dull industry and I think that the people recognize we keep it a buck and the real will relate. I say it kind of often because it’s true but the beer industry has never seen a guy like me before.
Let’s talk about Beer Kulture!
TA: How did you come up with the idea for the Beer Kulture brand?
Dooch: Beer Kulture was actually spontaneous man. Working in the beer industry and seeing things that consumers don’t see as well as having a ton of behind the scenes conversations caused me to open a Twitter [account] where I would just speak my piece. As time progressed more and more industry professionals started following me and I began to see that a lot of the conversations I was having in real life were happening online and all around the country. Conversations on diversity, on why aren’t more black people drinking craft beer, et cetera; and I, in true fashion would speak my piece, but it always seemed like people would hear what you were saying but ask the same question a week later – like what the black guy is saying about black people isn’t good enough. lol So after a year and a half or so I just said, “f*** it, if no one wants to move and put work in I will do it.” And it’s been on ever since.
What we do with Beer Kulture is what we have been doing in everyday life – forever, just not as focused as it is now. We just grabbed a name and turned it up a few notches and started documenting it so that it was visible to others. This is what we really do on the daily.
TA: What was your motivation for putting the logo on t-shirts and did you foresee the shirts becoming so popular?
Dooch: That’s nothing more than having a name to associate with the brand while we are out and about, G. If you’re pushing a brand it’s a necessity to have certain things and shirts are one of the things that are definitely needed. Now, we didn’t plan on selling the shirts but a lot of people asked for them so we got some done for the people and they made it do what it do. As far as the second part of the question, I don’t really consider them to be popular but if that’s the word you’d like to use than I’m not arguing with you either. Haha!
TA: What is the motivation behind your planned book, “This Aint the Beer That You’re Used to” and why are you so motivated to shift the ideology of what beer is and can be?
Dooch: The motivation for our book is so that the people can have a solid starting point. Our focus is on people who don’t know anything about beer outside of the bullshit that’s shoved down our throats. It’s for those who don’t know that there are better options available. It’s a book that I wish I had when I started getting into beer so that I wouldn’t have had to fumble my way through.
It’s a beginner’s guide in the truest sense of the word, meant for novices. So that when we or others introduce them to good beer they have something that can give them a solid ground to stand on while moving forward. A lot of beginner guides are a little too advanced for new drinkers so we wanted to cut through the fluff and extra deep shit and really zero in on helping them get started.
I love beer, this is my career and I think that it is bullshit that minorities have been given the s*** end of the stick when it comes to beer choices. These are all reasons why I’m so motivated. Beer has been given a bad rep by a lot of the ways it’s been represented to us. S***, even a lot of craft breweries are giving the industry a black eye currently. We just want people to know that a lot of the f*** shit they’ve tasted isn’t representative of beer and give them some information that’ll help them when or if they decide to take us at our word.
TA: What are your expectations for Beer Kulture and where do you see the brand in 5 years?
Dooch: I expect Beer Kulture to do exactly what it’s currently doing, showing people a new side of beer. As long as we can show people this ain’t the beer they’re used to and help people break certain mind frames they have concerning beer, we are happy. Whether it grows into something bigger or not only time will tell. This has been a very organic movement from the gate and has spread a little quicker than we thought, so we’re just enjoying the ride and the smiles on people’s faces when we let them taste some s*** that blows their minds.
TA: What is some advice you would give someone who is trying to make their mark in the craft beer scene?
Dooch: First, know your s***. Too many people run with the ball and are ignorant or unaware about a lot of stuff and that can handicap the crowd that follows you as well as yourself. It’s important to note here that we are all still learning (or should be) and that’s something that shouldn’t stop, but one has to be open and willing to continue to learn from others. I’d also suggest that character and integrity be your standard. This is a very small industry and word travels fast and having a bad name is no bueno. It’s a lot of hard work involved and it’s not always pretty, so make sure that when you embark on the journey of trying to make a mark you are well aware and prepared. Other than that, have fun and enjoy the ride.
Please be sure to follow Beer Kulture’s progression at @BeerKulture on all of their socials (FB, IG, and Twitter) and check out their blog listed here: www.beerkulture.com/blogs for more info on their movement.
*All Images used are from BeerKulture’s Instagram Account