With all the Philadelphia beer market has to offer, diversity hasn’t been a part of the package.
Two Philadelphia-area brothers, Rich and Mengistu Koilor, founded Two Locals Brewing Company with the hopes of changing the beer landscape in Philadelphia and beyond. “We’ve been beer lovers for a long time. The more that we learned about the industry, the more that we realized that there weren’t a lot of Black-owned breweries, let alone Black brewers. So we thought, why not try to be the first Black brewery?” Rich said. As far as the brothers know, Mengistu said, “There’s no other brewery that’s Black-owned and operated in the area. We would like to put our own stamp, you know, our culture into the brewery. Plus we haven’t really met anyone that’s born and raised in Philly and running a craft brewery.” And it’s well known that Philly is a big drinking city, with a majority Black population. “When it comes to the craft beer industry I think the African-American demographic is underserved,” Mengistu said. “It’s not really marketed to, specifically in Philly.” The brothers hope creating their local brewery will encourage other African Americans “to come drink beer and feel comfortable,” Rich said. The brothers don’t have a brick-and-mortar location just yet but have their eye on a few places. They said it’s a process. In the meantime, they can be found at various festivals and events around town. “We’d like to get started as soon as possible. It takes at least a year. First, you have to get the space and then you have to build off the brewery. We need to get the right equipment and build out the taproom before we can say, ‘OK, we’re ready to open up shop.’ So, if we secured the right funds in the next few months, I’d say summer 2021,” Mengistu said.