African American Liquor License Owners Seek to Create More Jobs

Ravelle Sweetwyne, a bartender at Home of Chicken and Waffles in Jack London Square works to serve customers daily.

Ravelle Sweetwyne, a bartender at Home of Chicken and Waffles in Jack London Square works to serve customers daily.

The California State Package Store and Tavern Owners Association (Cal-Pac) has been working for decades to improve the relationship between African American liquor license owners, the community, and the liquor retail industry.

Last month, the organization hosted its four-day 37th Annual Convention in Las Vegas where members attended meetings aimed at building the organization through partnerships with groups like 100 Black Men, the NAACP, and the Urban League.

“We want to grow our businesses now so that we are able to employ more people from our community,” said Derreck Johnson, Cal-Pac president and Home of Chicken and Waffles owner.

“Our keynote speaker was Aubry Stone, president of the California Black Chamber of Commerce, who emphasized circulating money within our own neighborhoods. It’s definitely something we can improve on.”

During the convention, workshops focused on promoting business through social media sites as well as bartending seminars, and a mixology competition. Members of Cal-Pac include Isler’s Liquor, Jo Jo’s Market, and Geoffrey’s Inner Circle.

The organization encourages networking among other business owners as well as providing marketing materials. Applicants must have a liquor license and be in good standing account with liquor distributor in order to become a member.

As the Multicultural Relations Manager, Moses Brewer has worked with MillerCoors to sponsor sporting collegiate events with Historically Black Colleges/Universities. Brewer has also worked closely with Cal-Pac to help provide funding and organizing for events such as concerts, dinners and auctions.

The company was one of the main sponsors for Bayou Classic Football game at Grambling State University and used some of the proceeds to provide scholarships. MillerCoors has supported higher education and HBCUs since 1986.

“Cal-Pac is responsible for opening the door for many Blacks and has worked hard to set a standard in the liquor industry,” said Brewer. “We can do a better job of sharing our business with family to ensure longevity and a foundation for the business to grow.”

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