Our Favorite LGBTQ-Owned Food and Drink Brands You Can Support
Try irresistible chocolate-chip cookies, nonalcoholic drinks, and tangy hot pepper sauce.
Well, here we are again. Despite humanity’s best attempts at self-destruction, we have made it to Pride Month. We so designate this month because in June 1969, in response to a police raid, patrons of the Stonewall Inn bar in NYC’s Greenwich Village rioted. A year later, the first Pride marches were held in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.
In the ensuing decades, Pride has gone from an expression of rage and self-preservation led by trans women of color like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson to a festival of consumerism led by corporations, many of which financially support anti-LGBTQ+ politicians when they think you’re not looking.
In the wake of the racial justice reckonings of the Summer of 2020, many have pushed back on the rampant corporatization of Pride (how many “Corporations on June 1” memes have you seen this week?) and are refocusing liberation efforts with a more inclusive and intersectional lens. Think more Audre Lorde, less muscle-bound white guys doing ketamine on a Bank of America parade float.
It has become routine at this point for us to couple consumerism with the idea of providing support and solidarity to a marginalized community as a way to uplift those who have struggled under the weight of systemic oppression. And while some larger corporations pay perfunctory service to Pride by slapping a rainbow on everything, there are a good number of legitimately queer-owned small businesses that you can support directly instead.
But first, if you have some spare dollars lying around and want to use them to support the community, please consider donating to some of the many wonderful organizations that are working to directly support queer people: Stonewall Community Foundation, Queer Detainee Empowerment Project, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Hetrick Martin Institute, and the Reclaim Pride Coalition are great places to start.
That said, everyone needs to eat (and drink), so I’ve put together a roundup of some of my favorite LGBTQ+-owned, direct-to-consumer brands that you can support all year round.
The name alone is reason to love this beer, but happily the beer itself is quite good, too. Born out of a desire to create and support spaces for queer women and non-binary people, Dyke Beer was founded by Sarah Hallonquist and Loretta Andro Chung during the pandemic. I’m partial to the Tall Girl Gose, which is a slightly sour, noticeably fruity brew.
For the more sugar-inclined people in your life, Austin-based Wunderkeks offers a rather large assortment of cookies and brownies. My go-to is the Greatest Hits pack, which includes chocolate-chip cookies, brownie cookies, and “everything” cookies with chocolate, cinnamon, coconut, and pecans.
Unlike many of the non-alcoholic brands on the market that seek to replicate a more familiar drinking experience—e.g., non-alcoholic gin—Sacré is truly unlike anything else I have ever tasted. It’s made by fermenting organic maple syrup in bourbon barrels with shade-grown coffee. It sounds weird, and it is, but we can’t get enough of the stuff.
Solid Wiggles answers the question, what if Jell-O shots, but good? It’s the brainchild of pastry polymath Jena Derman and bartender Jack Schramm. They offer two versions of each cake, one with spirits (approximately 5% ABV), and another without. My current “boozy” favorite is the Bird of Paradise, which is based on the classic Jungle Bird cocktail—a blend of pineapple, rum, orange, Campari, and lime. For the non-alc crew, the Cosmos Jelly Cake, with orange juice, sweet milk, and cranberry-lemon, is a total showstopper.
My eating habits never progressed past adolescence, aka I love snacking. Founded in 2012, Pip Snacks has spent the last decade growing its product line beyond simply popcorn to cheese balls, crackers, and corn dippers. The variety packs are ideal for the indecisive among us, and a great option when we’re in a lazy, snacking mood (which is pretty much 24/7).
We’ve loved Omsom for a while, and were especially excited to hear from its founder, Kim Pham, on one of our favorite podcasts, Feeling Asian. These seasoning packets are positioned as meal “starters” and make cooking a wide variety of Asian meals extremely easy, just adding protein and veg. Any fan of Japanese cuisine will appreciate the yuzu-inflected kit, but the Thai Larb and Spicy Bulgogi sets are also favorites.
This Brooklyn-based hot sauce was created as part of a Bushwig performance almost 10 years ago. Each flavor of hot sauce varies slightly from season to season but we love the Mx. Green Sass for its bright acidity—it works great in a Bloody Mary or Michelada. Aside from that, the classic Hot Pepper Sauce is a versatile queen in the kitchen.
To those of you who think that “vegan” and “cookies” do not belong in the same sentence, you’re wrong. I attempted veganism last year and these really helped me get through. I still enjoy these cookies even though I’ve returned to a more omnivorous diet. Like my savory snacks, I hate choosing and love to have variety, so my go-to order is their Online-Only Bundle.
Last but not least, me! I launched Proteau, a line of zero-proof botanical drinks, in the summer of 2020. My goal was to create drinks that stood on their own without the need for mixing. The first two entries in the line, Rivington Spritz and Ludlow Red, are on opposite ends of the spectrum: the Spritz is lighter with strawberry, gentian, hibiscus and champagne vinegar, while the Red is more intense with blackberry, black pepper, roasted dandelion, and fig vinegar.