Black-Owned Craft Beer Company Beat Out 13K Competitors to Win $200K Miller Lite ‘Tap the Future’ Prize

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Ayala Bystrom-Williams and James Hill accept their check from Tap The Future (Miller Coors)
Ayla Bystrom-Williams and James Hill accept their check from Tap The Future (Miller Coors)

A Black female founder of a specialty beer company won the grand prize from the Miller Lite Tap the Future competition.

According to the Santa Fe Reporter, Ayla Bystrom-Williams launched Honeymoon Brewery with her boyfriend James Hill. The pair spent the last few years developing their Santa Fe, New Mexico-based brand.

Co-founder Hill told the website the company will become licensed “sometime in 2017.”

Bystrom-Williams is the CEO of the company, which combines probiotic kombucha tea with a bit of beer.

“My passion for hops, health and happiness… led me to a career in craft beer,” Bystrom-Williams explained on her company website. “After crafting recipes for the past seven years I have finally been able to pursue it [professionally].”

The blend of kombucha tea with alcohol produces a beer with little sugar content. It also provides a natural detox. As a result, the beverage is ideal for customers reducing their sugar intake and others searching for gluten-free options.

According to a Miller Lite press release, Bystrom-Williams beat out 13,000 other competitors of all races to take home $200,000. The money will be used to expand the brewery by leasing a local building and ordering equipment.

Ayla Bystorm Williams (Honeymoon Brewery YouTube screen grab)
Ayla Bystorm Williams (Honeymoon Brewery YouTube screen grab)

“Winning the Miller Lite Tap the Future competition is a tremendous honor. From the very beginning, we knew that we had a product that could be revolutionary,” Bystrom-Williams said in a statement. “The exposure from this competition, as well the prize money will go a long way in getting us to the next level.”

The CEO and 29 other finalists traveled across the U.S. for the competition. She and Hill went through two bouts of meticulous, unrehearsed pitching throughout. Finalists shared their brand ideas with many judges – including “Shark Tank” entrepreneur Daymond John. By the first round, the founders and five other contenders earned $20,000 for their efforts.

Additionally, Kombucha Beer is not the only healthy alcoholic option Honeymoon Brewery wants to offer. Others include Roasted Dandelion Root American Stout, New Mexican Sour Ale and Kombucha Wine, among others.

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