Budweiser Commits to Nationwide UNCF Scholarship Program for Black Students to Enter Brewing Industry

Media Contact

Monique LeNoir UNCF Communications 202.810.0231 monique.lenoir@uncf.org

Scholarship Named in Honor of first Black female head St. Louis brewmaster, Natalie Johnson 

Today, Anheuser-Busch, the leader in American brewing, and flagship brand Budweiser are proud to announce the UNCF Budweiser Natalie Johnson Scholarship, which provides annual monetary awards for students pursuing STEM majors applicable to careers in brewing. This five-year commitment marks Budweiser’s continued support to promote diversity in the brewing industry by providing additional education and opportunities to bring more Black talent to Anheuser-Busch and encourage Black representation in brewing.

In association with long-time partner the UNCF, Budweiser will award 25 scholarships annually, valued at $4,000 each. Additionally, five intern scholars who receive a paid internship in the AB Brewing/Supply function will receive a $6,000 scholarship toward the final year of earning their degree.

“Anheuser-Busch has a strong foundation when it comes to addressing issues of racial inequality by promoting fundamental civil rights, education opportunities and economic empowerment within the Black community,” said Monica Rustgi, vice president, marketing for Budweiser. “We’re proud of a 40-plus-year partnership with UNCF in support of Black Americans, and we want to do even more to advance economic empowerment in the future.” 

To mark this announcement, Budweiser released a film called “Brewing Change.” The film documents a conversation between long-standing Budweiser partner Dwyane Wade and Natalie Johnson about opportunities in the brewing industry. Touching on both Dwyane and Natalie’s personal experiences and career trajectories, it culminates with Dwyane announcing the scholarship bearing Natalie’s namesake. Natalie, who joined the company as an intern, currently helps lead the brewing function at Anheuser-Busch where she is the company’s first Black female brewmaster in St. Louis. 

Dwayne Wade and Natalie Johnson

Dwyane Wade and Natalie Johnson

“I walked through the doors of Anheuser-Busch as an intern, excited and nervous! With lots of hard work and a desire to learn, I eventually became the first black female senior brewmaster of our first and largest brewery,” said Johnson, now the senior brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch. “Today, I am delighted and honored to continue forging a path for young people who can see themselves in my journey. There is still much to do, and I am immensely proud to be at a company that believes in diversity and is leading the way to bring about change.”

“It was incredible to share the news of the UNCF Budweiser Natalie Johnson Scholarship with Natalie herself as a part of my ongoing partnership with Budweiser,” said Budweiser partner, co-founder of Budweiser Zero, advocate and entrepreneur Dwyane Wade. “It’s important to me to use my platform to open doors for others, and together, we’re creating more chances for young Black people to have the opportunity to succeed.”

Since 2011, the AB Foundation has awarded over $2.5 million in grants to UNCF, resulting in more than 400 scholarships. In addition to working with the UNCF, Anheuser-Busch and the AB Foundation have partnered with the National Urban League since the 1980s, providing more than $1 million in support over the last five years alone. Over the last two months, Anheuser-Busch has committed an additional $1 million to the National Urban League, the NAACP Education and Legal Defense Fund and others playing a leading role in the pursuit of civil justice and inclusion.  

“I am extremely excited about this new scholarship program named after the first Black female head St. Louis brewmaster, Natalie Johnson,” stated UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael Lomax. “UNCF has had a long-standing partnership with Anheuser-Busch, and this scholarship is aligned with the work we do on behalf of HBCUs and our students and is inextricably intertwined with the ongoing Black struggle for our full citizenship rights, privileges and protections. Partnerships like this one move all of us forward towards better futures for us all, and we thank Anheuser-Busch for investing in deserving, talented students who will help pay it forward for others.”


About Budweiser
Budweiser, an American-style lager, was introduced in 1876 when company founder Adolphus Busch set out to create the United States’ first truly national beer brand—brewed to be universally popular and transcend regional tastes. Each batch of Budweiser stays true to the same family recipe used by five generations of Busch family brewmasters. Budweiser is a medium-bodied, flavorful, crisp and pure beer with blended layers of premium American and European hop aromas, brewed for the perfect balance of flavor and refreshment. Budweiser is made using time-honored methods including “kraeusening” for natural carbonation and Beechwood aging, which results in unparalleled balance and character.

About UNCF
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. Follow UNCF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @UNCF.