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In the Bolivian department of Oruro where Huari beer is produced, women have tended to llamas and sheep for centuries, turning their wool into yarn and weaving that yarn into brightly colored fabric. Work and skills that were always deeply connected to the land, and were passed down from women to their daughters and granddaughters for centuries.
But appreciation for traditional crafts diminished, and those skills became in danger of disappearing. Which is why beer brand Huari got involved. In 2015, the company started organizing workshops and a weaving school, and managed to increase the number of weavers from four to 42.
This month, Huari launched a campaign — #SigoElHilo, or Follow the Thread — to raise awareness of what could be lost. It released limited edition bottles wrapped in woven textiles, and produced four short documentaries portraying the weavers and their process. To solidify the progress that's been made so far, Huari aims to establish protected status for the weavers' craft, and is encouraging people to sign a petition to have fabrics of Bolivian origin declared official cultural heritage.
Celebrating local culture is a proven way for brands to connect to domestic consumers while operating in a hyper-globalized world. And Huari takes the right approach, by not just championing the beauty of Andean textiles, but investing in a community of female weavers and actively protecting their heritage for future generations.
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