Home » Equity Brewing boosts business, creates change – Journal Record

Equity Brewing boosts business, creates change – Journal Record

by Arifa Rana

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The Journal Record April 14, 2022 0
Mother-daughter team Suzette and Hannah Grillot, the owners of Equity Brewing in Norman. (Photo by Heide Brandes)
NORMAN – When mother-daughter team Suzette and Hannah Grillot opened Equity Brewing at 109 E. Tonhawa St. in Norman, they became the first fully woman-owned brewery in Oklahoma and the first to have a female head brewer. 
Suzette Grillot, who taught international politics at OU for 23 years, always wanted to start a business.  
“I felt I needed a product so I could build a space that is supportive and shared and empowering and uplifting and not toxic. I wanted a mission business,” she said. “I wanted to create a really comfortable, empowering space; how do I get people in there?” 
A visit to a local craft brewery in 2019 and the smell of brewing brought the answer. As a lifelong beer lover, Suzette learned to appreciate the nuances of good beer from her German grandfather. She also knew that beer was something that brought people together and could create a sense of community.  
“Beer is inherently a social product and, in Oklahoma, there were few women brewing beer,” Suzette Grillot said.   
Equity Brewing opened on July 2, 2020. Suzette and her daughter chose Norman in part due to the tight-knit brewing community. As the sixth brewery in Norman, Equity was able to leverage the relationships with other breweries in the community. 
“Building a brewery here made sense because the other breweries were so willing and eager to help get us up and running,” she said. “Though, starting a business in Norman seemed to be more challenging than really it should have been and more costly than it should have been. There definitely needs to be some streamlining in the city to help small businesses.” 
With five employees, the business also partners with Barbie Robertson, owner of This Messy Bun, who works as a chef in Equity; Soreeta Hinds of Brown Cow Bake Shop; and Brooke Rood, owner of Forage and Gather. 
The brewery also jumped into community involvement in Norman and beyond through Equity’s Taps for Humanity project. Collaborative brews are created in partnership with organizations like Period OKC, The Abbott House, Mutual Aid in Norman and others. 
“We wanted to do collaborative brews with nonprofit organizations to raise awareness about their issues and to also raise money through beer sales,” Suzette Grillot said. “Our very first one was Red Dirt Collective, which is a mutual aid organization that runs community food pantries and a community garden in Norman. We brewed a beer with them called Mutual Ale, which is a rosemary raisin dark red ale. We had an event where we raised awareness about the working poor of Norman and the need for a food pantry. We actually have a food pantry at the brewery.” 
Equity Brewing takes the proceeds from that beer to keep the food pantry stocked and any remaining proceeds go directly to Red Dirt Collective. The little 25-seat taproom and brewery also has a nano bookstore called Juste Books, “juste” being the French word for justice and fairness.  
“We know that as privileged white women, it’s our obligation to do something in this world to generate education, awareness, information and activism about the issues that we’re focused on, and we don’t do it alone,” Suzette Grillot said. “We have a board of trustees that is very representative. One of the main advantages about being in Norman is being part of a smaller brewing community and really being able to build that collective and do things together.” 
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April 14, 2022
April 14, 2022
April 14, 2022
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