Grammy-nominated Nappy Roots ferments passion for craft beer

The Grammy-nominated hip hop group Nappy Roots is taking its successful formula in music and brewing up something new for craft beer lovers.

Last year, the group made its first dive into the lucrative and expanding craft beer business with the release of “Front Porch,” a pale ale, with Atlanta-based Monday Night Brewing.

Since then Nappy Roots has released “Watermelon, Chiquen and Gritz,” a golden ale with watermelon, which is named after the group’s 2002 hit album; and the “Humdinger,” which will have its official launch at 6 p.m. tonight at  Monday Night Brewing, 933 Lee St. S.W.

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The group has named its new company Atlantucky, which blends its love of Atlanta and its roots in Kentucky. Two members live in Georgia and two live in Kentucky, where the group had its start.

“We started off in college partying and beer has always been part of our operations,” said Skinny DeVille, one of the co-founders .  “When we did shows, we used to put it in the rider. In college, though, we were drinking the cheap stuff like Old Milwaukee and Budweiser.”

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Then he discovered craft beer. There will always be Nappy Roots, but DeVille describes the venture as their next creative evolution.

“It opened my eyes to another world out there,” he said. “Craft beer is a higher level of consciousness for beer.”

He started sampling other craft beers and hasn’t looked back. It was a learning curve, though.

They had to learn the difference between a pale ale, an American stout and, say, an American-style wheat wine ale.

They had to learn about mouth appeal, colors and aromas.

“We wanted to make it a southern beer and incorporate things that make Nappy Roots what we are.”

Eventually, DeVille and the other members of Nappy Roots hit on the idea of developing their own brand.

They discussed it on their podcast and found more kindred spirits.

Indeed, the craft beer business is booming.

In 2017, it represented $26 billion in revenue, according to, a newsletter of the Brewers Association.

Nationwide, there were also more than 6,000 operating breweries.

Nappy Roots member Fish Scales wants to see expand the market for those drinking craft beer  to more African Americans.

"You take a person who doesn't like beer and take them to a brewery," said Scales. "I guarantee they will  find something they like. One of our main targets is to introduce the black community to craft beer. That relationship hasn't happened yet but we want to build that bridge."
The group's love to craft beer may have other spin-offs as well.

Nappy Roots is also developing  reality show that will follow the band as they visit craft breweries in markets they perform across the United States.