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Mad River Brewing Promotes Indigenous Culture


Recently, the Yurok Tribe partnered with the San Francisco Giants to sell craft beers made by their brewery, Mad River Brewing Co. Inc. The partnership is the first time an Indigenous tribe and Major League Baseball franchise are working together. That said, the Mad River Brewery will offer three unique craft beers at the Giants’ stadium, Oracle Park. 

An Opportunity To Be Taken Seriously 

To the CEO of Mad River Brewing, Linda Cooley, the partnership represents the tribe’s independence and offers the chance for the Yurok Tribe to be taken seriously by the public. Obviously, a collaboration with a professional sports team can positively affect both the franchise and the tribe. 

Also, one reason Mad River Brewing sought out the Giants was the franchise’s display of inclusivity. “They’ve just been so inclusive for all these different ethnicities, and we thought maybe we can take Indigenous people to that next level with them,” Cooley explains. 

San Francisco Giants Embracing Diversity

The Giants franchise has taken numerous progressive steps to draw attention to social issues, different ethnicities and reflect social diversity. For example, some of the diversity efforts the Giants have implemented include:

  • A night designated to recognize the LGBTQ+ community 
  • A Native American Heritage Night 
  • The “Until There’s A Cure Day” event, which raises awareness of HIV and AIDS 

On top of all these events, the stadium has incorporated a way for fans to contact security more efficiently and prevent “culturally insensitive” behavior and attire at Oracle Park. 

A Brewery Looking At The Bigger Picture 

The contract between the Giants franchise and Mad River Brewery will last two years. As part of this deal, the brewery has permission to sell drinks throughout the stadium as well as display its logo at different locations. However, the priority for the Giants franchise is to celebrate cultural diversity.

Director of partnerships and media for the Giants, Jessica Santamaria, says “Our organization is committed to promoting and celebrating our diverse community, and in partnering with Mad River, we can help give Indigenous peoples a presence beyond their borders.” Even the drinks Mad River Brewery plans to sell at Oracle Park draw attention to social issues.

That said, the brewery’s “Historic State Park IPA” addresses the Yurok Tribe’s partnership with California State Parks to return Indigenous names to the parks. Also, the “Undammed Huckleberry Hopped Hard Seltzer” represents the tribe’s efforts to remove dams on the Klamath River. 

Committing To Promoting Native American Culture 

Since announcing the Mad River Brewery/Giants partnership, Cooley notes the community support has been optimistic for similar future alliances.

“Being told that we can’t do certain things because we’re Indigenous, and that’s just not true, that’s a lie, that’s a form of suppression. Breaking out of that is something we can all celebrate no matter what ethnicity you are,” Cooley explains. 

Mad River Brewery is also committed to inter-tribal business operations, both now and in the future. In fact, a big part of the production process involves working with the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska. This tribe supplies the brewery with ingredients that are essential for production. To Cooley, “supporting each other should be first and foremost.” 

The societal effects Mad River Brewery is generating expand beyond Giants fans. One of the opportunities is allowing the Yurok Tribe to share parts of their culture with a vast community. Also, Cooley explains that the partnership enables “Indigenous people to get those lies and false narratives down.”

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