House of Pure Vin, a wine shop in Detroit, recently hosted George Brown, founder and principal of Alexis George, a Black-owned wine brand.
Brown has been in the wine business for years, yet in an indirect way from his time working the restaurant business and since “washing dishes” as he would call it.
Brown comes with the experience of being a restaurant manager and a food and beverage director. His years of preparation put him in the position to pursue an opportunity in the industry in 2012.
“I became like a rocket ship,” Brown says. “You can feel yourself taking off in doing things that don’t feel like work, it becomes mission driven.”
He is passionate about producing wines with quality at “everyday price points”. Brown was in Detroit at the House of Pure Vin for a special taste-testing and to launch his brand in a community similar to which he grew up on the streets of South Philly.
Alexis George Wines speaks to Brown’s daughter and son’s middle names. The brand donates a portion of sales from each bottle sold to scholarships and grants for children in underserved communities. Brown is adamant about serving youth and supporting programs and mentorships in which support them.
“The brand while in themselves are good, I just try to make people understand that while there are many wines out there it is our purpose I hope people connect to and that’s developing youth, because that changes the future of our community.”
It certainly has taken hard work, a grind of entrepreneurial spirit for Brown to have built up to 42 states of distribution. A part of the success comes from sales at Target and now Walmart, Kroger, and Trader Joe’s in some markets. Some of his branded wines featured and now selling at the House of Pure Vin includes the Alexis George Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles offering a “smooth aroma of rich cherry, layered with red fruits, plum, and mulberry, tones of Brazilian nuts, coconut, and licorice.
For Brown, a Howard University alum, it’s all about reaching back and lifting up and developing the next “generations” of the Black community to created generational change. Which is why he created and branded the ‘Reach’ Red Blend California made from grapes grown in California, a blended tastes of “dark plums, juicy blackberries, and a long satisfying finish.”
The Alexis George Wines logo are the profile pictures of Brown’s daughter and son. When they were three years old the family traveled to Disney World. Their faces were sketched and would ultimately become the logo for the family’s winery business.
“I’m really building this for my kids,” Brown says. “It’s a two-legged stool for me, scholarships and legacy for my children and other children.”
“Education is one of those keys things that can make things happen.”
It’s what tries him, but it’s also not lost on Brown the footprint he’s making in an wine and spirits industry which doesn’t look like him as a Black individual. The topic was a part of the intimate gathering of 40-plus invited guests during a Q & A discussion with Brown and Regina Gaines, owner of House of Pure Vin,
“There is definitely a small percentage of Blacks in ownership and various role in the wines and spirits industry. The first thing you need to do is make sure you have a quality product. But there also comes to the responsibility for the those of us with a blessing to bring others along with us.”
Brown says the industry is slow changing but it requires people to commit to “sticking their toe in the water” to overcome the obstacles.
“It’s easy to say this fight to too big. But if you think about our history over time, there’s been tons of obstacles, it’s a matter of choice as to whether or not you’re going to fight through those things.”
Brown has proven to push through barriers and with a purpose driven business and mindset, he hopes to not only continue to grow in the wine and spirits industry, but make an impact, opening the door for his community and young people across the country.