Fremont PRIDE Kolsch
Fremont Brewing’s perception of Pride is simple: “Really, it’s all about love”. Fremont Brewing’s PRIDE Kolsch celebrates all LGBTQ people and a portion of its proceeds are donated to organizations that help foster safe and respectful LGBTQ-friendly environments both locally and around the world. Today, Pride celebrations take place on every continent (including Antarctica) and they are always an enjoyable affair. Music, dancing, singing, parades and lots of rainbow flags fill countless cities and neighborhoods, but the origins of this joyful revelry are actually much darker. To begin the story, one must travel all the way to the other side of the country, all the way to New York City.
In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar located on Christopher Street in the Greenwich Village neighborhood. Raids of gay bars were common at the time and the raid at the Stonewall Inn went along in standard fare. The police lined everyone up, checked their IDs, and then started to arrest men who were dressed like women, but this raid was different than previous raids around New York. LGBTQ people had been harassed by police in the city for decades and by the time the cops made it to the Stonewall Inn, the men and women at the bar had already been pushed to their limit. This time, they fought back.
The police had a plan; they would clear out the bar, load everyone into wagons and remove all alcohol from the Stonewall Inn but, instead, they quickly found themselves greatly outnumbered, surrounded, wrestling with patrons and eventually running for their lives. An agitated resistance turned into a full-scale riot that raged until 4:00 a.m. More riots broke out the next night, and again the next evening. Clearly, the LGBTQ community had reached their breaking point and, soon after, they began to organize.
By November, less than three months after the riot, it was established by LGBTQ leaders that the last Saturday in June would be known as Christopher Street Liberation Day and that the day would be used to commemorate the events that occurred at the Stonewall Inn as well as hold demonstrations in support of the LGBTQ community. One year later, on June 28, 1970, the first Pride march took place, starting at Christopher Street and crossing 51 city blocks until it ended in Central Park.
Simultaneous marches occurred in L.A., San Francisco and Chicago, and they were all a hit. The next year the marches spread to Boston, Dallas, Milwaukee, London, Berlin, Stockholm and Paris, and the next year they spread even further to include Detroit, Buffalo, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Atlanta and Miami. At the time of the Stonewall Riots, the estimated number of gay rights groups in the U.S. was around 50 but only two years later had grown as high as 2,500. The raid on the Stonewall Inn not only backfired, it lit a fire that still burns strong today.
Before the Stonewall riots, LGBTQ people were greatly oppressed in America. The overwhelming nationwide view of homosexuality was that it was an illness and that LGBTQ people were perverted and dangerous. Religious groups persecuted them, politicians smeared them and most homosexuals felt that they needed to hide their true identity. Demonstrations in support of the LGBTQ community began in the late 1950s with the most significant being the “Annual Reminder” at Independence Hall in Philadelphia every Fourth of July. It, along with dozens of other organized demonstrations during the decades that preceded the Stonewall riots, set the stage for the modern-day LGBTQ rights movement.
The people who marched in the first Pride parade were taking a huge risk. Not only were they openly exposing themselves to a world that shunned them but many LGBTQ people were violently attacked in those days and marching through the hardened streets of New York, as well as other cities, could have ended in disaster. In fact, the marchers in New York City, some of whom wore bags over their heads, covered their planned route in about half the time they initially anticipated as they found themselves nervously walking much faster than expected. Fortunately, the worst they had to endure was some harsh language from a few ignorant onlookers. The Stonewall riots and the first Pride march (then known as Christopher Street Liberation Day) are now viewed as the most significant moments in the history of the LGBTQ rights movement.
June is now Pride Month and marches continue all around the world. Seattle, the home of Fremont Brewing, brings over 300,000 people together to celebrate America’s LGBTQ community and, like most places, that number grows larger every year. Some cities now attract over a million participants for Pride events including Chicago, San Francisco. The New York City LGBT Pride March now sees more than two million participants every year but the most remarkable Pride event in the world has to be the festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil, an event that started with 2,000 people in 1997 and now draws a crowd larger than five million.
From the Brewer: Crisp and accessible, the goal of Fremont Brewing’s PRIDE Kolsch is to celebrate queerness, support and grow the community of LGBTQ people in the craft beer world, and stand up for their safety and self-determination. Proceeds benefit non-profits supporting and fighting for LGBTQ rights and services. Be proud of who you are, who you like, and what you drink. Because Pride Matters. ABV 5.5%, IBU 20
Matt Lincecum - CEO, Co-Founder & Owner, Sara Nelson - Co-Founder & Owner