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PITTSFIELD — Hot Plate Brewing Co., a Latina-owned brewery opening in downtown Pittsfield in early 2023, was selected as one of the Imbibe 75 in the January/February 2023 issue of Imbibe. According to the magazine, the Imbibe 75 features “individuals, organizations, and businesses that are dedicated to creating a more positive, sustainable, inclusive, and equitable drinks world.”

As a BIPOC- and women-owned business, Hot Plate was selected by Imbibe because of the company’s mission to make the craft-beer world more accessible and inclusive. According to the Brewers Assoc., less than 1% of all American craft breweries are owned by women of color, which makes Hot Plate stand out in a crowded, maturing marketplace. Beyond representation, Hot Plate also seeks to leverage its founders’ professional skillsets to execute on their brand promise in a data-driven way.

With almost 40 years of combined experience in market research, brand development, and data analysis, founders Sarah Real and Mike Dell’Aquila plan on implementing tools and best practices to reach, inspire, and engage historically underrepresented consumers.

“For the last 10 or so years of my career, I’ve learned how to leverage qualitative and quantitative market research to support corporate sales and marketing teams as they develop and execute strategies that lead to top-line revenue growth,” Real said. “I’m so excited that I now have the opportunity to use that expertise to support my own passion for craft beer and making it relatable for people who might not see themselves reflected in the industry today.”

Dell’Aquila echoed his wife and business partner’s enthusiasm and strategic approach. “Going back to when we were still home-brewing, we noticed that a lot of our friends were very gendered in their consumption habits. The men would drink the beer, and our female friends would politely take a sip, expecting to switch to wine pretty soon after that. But one of the things we started noticing was that beers like Sarah’s chamomile blonde ale had a lot of women saying that, even though they didn’t consider themselves beer drinkers, they’d drink that. And we continued getting that feedback during the pop-up events we were doing in Pittsfield and throughout the Berkshires.”

In addition to its beers and marketing plans, Hot Plate also intends to make a tangible, positive impact in the Berkshires with its Community Line, which will feature collaborations with a rotating list of mission-aligned nonprofit organizations and raise money for a variety of causes; proceeds from these collaborative beers will go directly to the charitable organizations with whom they are partnering. “We know that one of the things that makes beer special is its ability to bring people together,” Real said, “and with our Community Line, we really believe that we can show that craft beer can also be a force for good.”