black-owned brewery

Black-Owned Brewery in Kansas City Sets Its Sights On National Recognition

Kansas City's only Black-owned brewery, Vine Street Brewing Co., is making waves as it competes in the 15th annual Brewbound Pitch Slam.

Kansas City’s only Black-owned brewery, Vine Street Brewing Co., is making waves as it competes in the semifinals of the 15th annual Brewbound Pitch Slam Competition, taking place Dec. 6 in Marina del Rey, California.

“I might be biased, but in my opinion we haven’t made a bad beer yet,” cofounder Kemet Coleman told The Kansas City Star.

The Brewbound Pitch Slam Competition, sponsored by beer publication Brewbound, pits Vine Street Brewing Co. against some of the best startups in the industry. While the winner will receive a $10,000 grand prize, Coleman is eyeing another prize. “I think if we win, then that will definitely put us in a national conversation,” he said.

Vine Street Brewing Co. plans to present its Paper Bag Thin and Tricou Street beers during the semifinals, aiming for a light and refreshing appeal to the California judges, according to the Star. Contestants in the Brewbound Pitch Slam Competition have a limited time to pitch their business plans to experts.

Reflecting on the brewery’s recent successes, including being awarded $25,000 from GIFT KC and securing second place and $10,000 in the AltCap Your Biz Pitch Competition, co-owners Coleman, Woodie Bonds Jr., and Elliott Ivory are optimistic about the future. The influx of funds has enabled Vine Street Brewing Co. to expand its production capabilities: The company acquired a 15-barrel fermentation tank, doubling the size of its largest tank.

“This allows us to have a lot more reach to increase our capacity for our output essentially,” said Coleman. The expansion also allows the Black-owned brewery to bring its 20 beers into more restaurants and bars. Additionally, Vine Street Brewing Co. is venturing into canning. Its products are now available at the Black Pantry, and there are plans to expand into local and national stores.

Among Vine Street Brewing Co.’s noteworthy beers is “One for the Books,” a limited-edition brew created in honor of the Kansas City Public Library’s 150th anniversary. The beer features hints of caramel and vanilla and is packaged in a can designed to resemble a classic book checkout record card.

RELATED CONTENT: Two Brothers Open Philadelphia’s First Black-Owned Brewery