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TRU Colors Pushes Back Launch Date

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Jul 7, 2021
TRU Colors is starting over with its beer production, pushing back its distribution launch. (File photo)
TRU Colors has pushed back the upcoming launch date for its first beer because of what the company described in a statement as "unforeseen complications while working with our new brewing systems."

TRU Colors had been planning a statewide launch of its new lager, TRU Light, on July 12, and announced the date last week on its Facebook page in a post that has since been removed.

“The batch of finished product that was ready to ship was not the beer we tested so successfully. Delivering quality product is of utmost importance to us, and the stakes are too high to knowingly take on a significant risk that could be mitigated,” George Taylor, chairman and CEO of the company, said in an email Tuesday night.

TRU Colors is a for-profit company that aims to curtail street violence by skills training and employing local gang members within its business. Taylor first floated the concept in 2017. It has gained national attention and was featured this week on Good Morning America.

The company's leadership team decided on Sunday to hold off distribution of its first batch of beer and start over with brewing, Taylor said Wednesday.

TRU Colors installed its equipment and started brewing on its new system to scale production of its beer about five weeks ago, Taylor said.

The company has spent more than a year brewing and testing and had found its ideal recipe, Taylor said. But when it started brewing at its new brewery, located at TRU Colors' headquarters at 715 Greenfield St., the end product didn't come out as the company had hoped, he said adding, "the beer came out, and it tasted slightly different."

Officials chose to hold the launch until they work out the new system.

"We made this decision because we believe TRU Colors will be a large national hit, and we think we have such a great opportunity here ... We didn't want to add risk [on the product side] that we couldn't mitigate," Taylor said. "So we made the decision to push [the launch] ... We have to reset some of the brewing, and we've got to test."

Taylor said that the timeline for launch will push until they perfect the brewing process and before distributing its cans.

TRU Colors has a strategic partnership with Chicago-based Molson Coors, which made an equity investment earlier this year in the local brewery. TRU Colors will distribute exclusively through Molson Coors' network of distributors.

When the beer does launch, Taylor said the company still plans to distribute its beer across North Carolina. There are seven distributors across the state working with TRU Colors, including Pender County-based Coastal Beverage Co.

"We'll be in the large grocery chains: Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Lowes Foods, Publix. And we will be in a number of convenience stores and then hundreds and hundreds, hopefully, thousands by the time we launch, smaller retailer outlets or bars and restaurants," he said.

TRU Colors also wants to distribute its beer in Virginia, and eventually, nationwide within the first 24 months.

The brewery on Greenfield Street is capable of producing over 1 million cases per year, officials have said.

Taylor said Wednesday that the company currently has about 80 employees, the majority of whom are gang members.

"Every good company knows they have a responsibility to their team members, customers, and investors, but with an impact company like ours there is so much more," Taylor said in his statement. "At TRU Colors, this means we are also responsible to the many families and communities who need us to make this right, because our success is their success. We are committed to making TRU Light a big success for all involved and ensuring that our social mission continues to positively impact North Carolina and our country in a significant way."
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