BarrieHaus, Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Cohesion, Fidens, Fox Farm, Goldfinger, Good Word, Marlow Artisanal Ales, Olfactory, Sacred Profane, Schilling, The Seed, Wooden Robot. Human Robot’s fourth annual lagerbier fest, Log Jammin’, features some of the most incredible big-name lager makers from around the country. But perhaps the most important name of the entire fest isn’t even on the list of participating breweries.

For three years, Human Robot has teamed up with the Michael James Jackson Foundation (MJF), donating a portion of the proceeds to the organization that raises money to fund technical scholarships for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in the brewing and distilling industry.

The relationship has become a core part of the festival, which started in 2021, honestly, Human Robot Co-Founder Ken Correll shares, after he found a loophole in the City of Philadelphia’s pandemic protocols.

The former wedding and event planner discovered you could have a private party for up to 200 people outdoors. Human Robot used a big parking lot at a local catering company, inviting 13 to 14 of their brewing friends.

human robot log jammin' III
Scenes from Log Jammin’ III in 2023 | Photography courtesy of Jose Manchola (@yankeerunner77)
human robot log jammin' III
Scenes from Log Jammin’ III in 2023 | Photography courtesy of Jose Manchola (@yankeerunner77)

“It was amazing,” says Correll. “The fact that we could get together with friends like The Seed and Marlowe. … It was a fun time.”

Log Jammin’ highlights all these small lager brands and people making great lager around the country.

“We’re all just slinging liquid,” says Correll.

But having a fun time wasn’t enough for Human Robot.

“Since day one, we’ve always tried to be a part of the community,” says Correll, born and raised in Philadelphia. “Being a lager fest and lagerbier, which is near and dear to all of our hearts, we started to think about … what can we do as three white brewery owners to have a better sense of doing something to make our [beer] world better?”

To answer that question, Correll turned to Brooklyn Brewmaster and MJF Founder Garrett Oliver.

“The foundation was just the perfect fit for what we hoped we could accomplish,” says Correll.

What Is the Michael James Jackson Foundation for Brewing & Distilling?

beny ashburn co-founder crowns & hops michael james jackson foundation
Crowns & Hops Co-Founder Beny Ashburn | Photography courtesy of the Michael James Jackson Foundation | Crowns & Hops

Named after one of the world’s most incredible beer and whiskey writers, Michael James Jackson, the foundation strives to make the craft beer industry more diverse, just, and equitable by providing scholarship opportunities to underrepresented communities.

“Michael Jackson pushed me into rooms where people were not prepared to see me and used the fact he was a god to whom no one could say no,” Oliver shared during an event at the Craft Brewers Conference in Nashville in 2023. “Who is he, and what is he doing here? That is what I heard in England while judging the Champion of Beer of Britain final panel in 1992. … If you’re a Person of Color, you have heard that whispered or felt that from behind a bar.”

The MJF aims to rewrite that narrative, equipping People of Color in the industry with the tools and education to advance in this industry despite its systemic barriers.

Those like MJF’s new Director of Operations, Breeze Galindo.

Why Is the MJF so Important?

human robot log jammin' III and michael james jackson foundation executive director breeze galindo
Scenes from Log Jammin’ III in 2023 with the MJF Director of Operations Breeze Galindo on the left | Photography courtesy of Jose Manchola (@yankeerunner77)

Galindo’s story will tell you everything you need to know about why the MJF is so important.

“Starting off as a woman of color in the industry, where nobody knew me, nobody would give me the opportunity,” she shares, “I would get laughed at. There’s just the whole discrimination and harassment part.”

When Galindo first started brewing, the MJF didn’t exist. She had few, if any, support systems.

“I was always over-drafting my bank account,” shares Galindo, who started as a barback, working her way up to assistant brewer with a $10.50/hour wage. “Even though I was double brewing four days a week doing everything on my own while my head brewer just gave me direction from the comfort of his home—texting me the grain bill for the day.”

For the beer-lover who says brewing always appealed to her because her severe ADHD and dyslexia made working with her hands more appealing, the opportunities were limited.

“I didn’t know you were supposed to go to brewing school; I didn’t know you were supposed to have internships in Germany,” says Galindo. “I didn’t know you were supposed to know people.”

In fact, when Other Half offered her a job in 2019, she says she didn’t even truly understand the gravity of this brewery. “I didn’t know anything about the DDHs of the word, how massive was this brewery, or Broccoli and Forever,” she says.

But the offer was too good to pass up—401k, full benefits, and a liveable wage. The only stipulation? “I interviewed on July 4th, was offered the position on July 10th, and had to move to New York within a two-week period to be on the floor with my boots on, ready to go,” says Galindo, who stopped working at her brewery in LA on July 27th and moved across the country for her first day at Other Half on July 29th. “I didn’t have the opportunity that some people in the industry have to take a month off and travel. I couldn’t explore New York for two weeks before starting. … I had no money. I had no choice. ”

She continues, “On Friday, I left everything that I knew and loved, moved to a city I’d never been to in my life, not knowing where I was going to live, and just started working on Monday.”

Despite all these challenges, Galindo channeled her experiences into positive outcomes.

During her four years at Other Half, Galindo started The Women’s Forum, spotlighting women’s successes and challenges in the industry to encourage, empower, and ignite interest for other People of Color and those outside the male gender, according to Galindo.

“Brewing beer doesn’t have to be just for men,” she says. “It could be for anybody who is just as passionate and curious.

Word of her work filtered down to Oliver, who had just started the MJF and was looking for board members.

He reached out to her via Zoom. “‘Hey, so I’ve heard about you,’” Galindo recalls him saying in the first meeting. “He told me, ‘Hey, you get to sit on a board to create something and offer opportunities for people who look like you so that they don’t have to go through what you went through.’”

Galindo was one hundred percent in. During her time at the MJF, she didn’t miss one meeting, she pioneered a mentorship program, and she brought an overall zest and enthusiasm to her role.

“To become a brewer in this industry, yes, it should be challenging, but it should never be harmful,” Galindo says. “Through my work for the MJF, I want to create a space of empowerment and, yes, challenges, but I never support a space that’s harmful to anybody trying to find their own role in the industry.

The experience at the MJF was completely different from any other Galindo had in the industry.

“It’s hard to explain to people who have never been in this experience,” says Galindo. “To be in a foundation where all the board members are People of Color, to start a new mentorship program, and to be nominated for it was the first time ever in my career where I was encouraged, empowered, and put in a place of success because they believed in me.”

Last November, the MJF board voted Galindo to take over as director of operations.

“I got really emotional and even texted Garrett, saying this has never happened before and just thank you for believing in me,” shares Galindo. “Garrett was like, ‘You’re the one that’s done all the work; you’re meant for this role.’”


MJF and Human Robot Working Together to Impact the Future

human robot log jammin' III
Scenes from Log Jammin’ III in 2023 | Photography courtesy of Jose Manchola (@yankeerunner77)
human robot log jammin' III
Scenes from Log Jammin’ III in 2023 | Photography courtesy of Jose Manchola (@yankeerunner77)

Correll met Galindo when she was still the lead brewer at Other Half.

“We just became friends,” he recalls. “We love each other. She’s like my third adopted daughter! We just sort of gravitated toward each other.”

Correll, who has a daughter of half-Asian heritage who became a brewer, often asks Galindo for advice.

“Breeze has always been a great sounding board and allowed me to work through and offer my daughter better advice that my experience wouldn’t normally allow me to give her,” says Correll. “I believe this lady is one of my best friends.”

For Human Robot, working with the MJF seemed to make sense.

Correll says in the past, Log Jammin’ has raised somewhere between $5,000-$6,000 per year for the organization. But this year, “We feel like we can do better,” says Correll. “Even in my own city and our community, people don’t know about the foundation and not why it’s important to me, but why it should be important to them.”

Galindo agrees that she wishes more people understood the impact of the MJF.

To this day, she’ll meet people who she thinks are perfect MJF candidates, asking why they haven’t applied. Many don’t even know the MJF exists.

“Some of them have never left their state. Some of them have never left their area. Or some of them are completely in debt from making $10 an hour at a brewery because they really want to learn how to brew,” says Galindo. “We don’t have cameras everywhere, [but] if those who donated could just be flies on the wall throughout these [scholarship] interviews, I think it would hit the industry even harder as to why it’s important to not only support but also help fund the MJF because we’re creating major opportunities.”

What Is the Impact of MJF Scholarships?

teo hunter co-founder crowns & hops michael james jackson foundation
Crowns & Hops Co-Founder Teo Hunter | Photography courtesy of the Michael James Jackson Foundation | Crowns & Hops

Since starting the foundation in 2020, Oliver and the MJF have given $200,000 worth of scholarships to forty-four different People of Color in the industry.

“I think we’re doing an exceptional job at fulfilling not only the expectations of what we’ve set out to do but also creating more opportunities than I’ve ever heard of for any other organization whose mission is benefiting People of Color in this industry,” says Galindo.

These are educational opportunities that often come with a tremendous cost.

“This type of education is extremely expensive,” shares Galindo. “It’s not $500. We’re talking like $6,000 to $15,000.”

Oliver has also shared this with us in the past, admitting that even when he sat in the brewmaster chair, he required any new applicant to either have two to three years of experience or a certificate. “I thought I was doing the right thing, but it turned out that no Brown people ever showed up.”

A scholarship from the MJF covers those expenses and helps ensure that Black and Brown people can attend those interviews or even further their established businesses.

“If you don’t know how meaningful that is, ask them; ask me,” Oliver remarked. “I wished to god there was someone there for us. We have their back. And that’s important. You have their back. This is a beautiful thing.”

Galindo, who never dreamed she would go from a barback to a director of operations at a foundation, says she can’t even imagine how much easier things would have been for her if the MJF had existed when she first started.

“I was able to push my way through,” she says. “But I want [our awardees] to reach for the stars where I had to have different routes and obstacles just to get this place.”

But Galindo says it’s as much about building confidence as the financial component.

“They have the finances to expand their careers, but they also get to believe in themselves because we believe in them,” she says.

Building a Family for the Future

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Michael James Jackson Foundation scholarship awardees at the Craft Brewers Conference | Photography courtesy of Ken Correll, Co-Founder Human Robot

The opportunity to work with Human Robot’s Log Jammin’ means the MJF can create another touchpoint with the industry and consumers.

“Who’s listening, who’s paying attention? How can we get their attention?” says Galindo. “At the end of the day, consumers are more curious about the highest-ABV beer and the haziest beer.”

With some of the biggest-name lager makers in the country attending Log Jammin’, the festival is the perfect place to share the MJF’s story.

At the end of the day, Galindo emphasizes that her goal is to show people that the MJF’s impact really matters and that the foundation has changed lives.

She recounted in April when many of the past and present scholarship awardees met at the Craft Brewers Conference in Las Vegas, NV.

“I started crying because of the look on their faces of achieving something nobody told them they could,” says Galindo.

Correll, who also attended the gathering, agreed, saying, “I believe the foundation is building a family. I use that in a loose term, but you have this group that you rely on, and now you know each other. It was beautiful.”

human robot log jammin' III
Scenes from Log Jammin’ III in 2023 | Photography courtesy of Jose Manchola (@yankeerunner77)

Family is another reason Correll wanted to work with the MJF; he believes it’s something you’ll find at Log Jammin’, too.

“It’s a focused day of drinking lager and camaraderie all to benefit the foundation,” he says. “Quite honestly, and brewers can attest to this, we’re all family. … At the end of the day, we want to do great things with good people. It’s good lager, good people, beautiful venue, and a great experience,” says Correll.

And let’s not forget, it’s all to make an incredible impact.

Looking to make your own impact?

Get yourself to Log Jammin’.


Can’t make it? Don’t worry! You can still donate directly to the MJF!


human robot log jammin' III
Scenes from Log Jammin’ III in 2023 | Photography courtesy of Jose Manchola (@yankeerunner77)