Bow and Arrow Brewing Co. started a project that has spilled over into more than two dozen communities across the United States.
Bow and Arrow is the first and only female-owned Native American brewery in the industry. Cognizant of her position and her platform, CEO and founder Shyla Sheppard said she wanted to do something positive for Native American communities. As a result, she has started the Native Land Beer campaign.
“I saw the opportunity to educate the public,” she said. “And a way to generate funds for Native communities.”
As part of the project, Bow and Arrow developed a Native Land recipe that can be brewed as either a West Coast or hazy IPA. The recipe is shared with participating breweries. The beer is then packaged in a can with a label that acknowledges the ancestral land on which it was brewed. Bow and Arrow is near Sixth NW and Interstate 40. Its Native Land beer can recognizes the Tiwa people who once lived in this area.
Participating breweries have also pledged to donate the profits from package and taproom sales to an organization that benefits Native Americans and their communities. Participants have until March to brew and package their Native Land beer.
Initially, Sheppard set her sights on New Mexico and reached out to a few brewery operators in other states with which she already had an established relationship. But the idea has taken off, and 30 breweries across the United States have signed on to the campaign, including in Alaska, Alabama, Tennessee, California, New York and Oklahoma. Other participating breweries in New Mexico are Bosque, Marble, Second Street and Bathtub Row.
Sheppard said it has made her believe she can achieve something she thought was too far-fetched when the campaign started.
“Now my goal is to have a brewery from every state,” she said. “I think that is possible.”
The campaign appears to still be gaining momentum. The brewery is asking its followers on Instagram to tag breweries they want to see participate, and some of have responded that they are planning to join the campaign.
Sheppard grew up on Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota and is a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation. She started the brewery with her wife, Missy Begay, who grew up in Albuquerque as a member of the Navajo Nation. She said that New Mexicans are fortunate enough to live close to Native culture and that not everyone in every state has that opportunity.
“This campaign demonstrates to people that we still exist,” she said. “We are demonstrating that as Native people, we can be successful. We want to dispel harmful stereotypes.”
The beer is available in cans or on draft at the brewery or packaged at a few select locations.