Two Brothers Open Philadelphia’s First Black-Owned Brewery

Two Brothers Open Philadelphia’s First Black-Owned Brewery

Great things are in the plans for this brewery as it heads toward a grand opening in a new location.

Two Locals Brewing Co. is making history as Philadelphia’s first Black-owned brewery after signing a lease at uCity Square, a mixed-use development on the Drexel University campus.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, brothers Richard and Mengistu Koilor plan to open the brewery and taproom in the summer of 2023.

“There are not a lot of places in West Philly that can house a brewery,” Mengistu said.

“The places where there might be a building, the area isn’t really ready for a brewery. University City puts us close enough to where we grew up that we can still have an effect on the community, and it’s a higher visibility for our first space.”

As the Koilors await moving into the location, their beers are currently being contract-brewed out of Mainstay Independent Brewing in Northern Liberties. The brothers are working to expand to include 12 taps in addition to selling Pennsylvania wines, ciders, and spirits.

“Anytime you’re in retail, the more points of sale that you can get, the more eyes on you that you can get, the better,” Richard said in regard to expanding.

The brewery’s menu will reportedly feature bar food and a weekly dish that will pay homage to the brothers’ Liberian and Jamaican heritage.

“I see more interest in brewing, whether it’s people wanting to get into brewing or start a craft-beer blog or do events that’s based around craft beer,” Richard said, pointing out the growth of Barrel & Flow Fest, an annual Black beer and arts event in Pittsburgh that had its third meeting in August.

“It’s been good to see.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the brothers are working with Wexford Science & Technology to develop the nearly 6,000-square-foot space, which has not had a tenant since it was completed in 2018. The plans also include a 15-barrel brew house that will be visible from 37th Street.

“I think the design does a really nice job of activating the streetscape,” said Pete Cramer, Wexford vice president.

According to the company’s website, the brothers are on a mission to show the Black community the opportunities available in the brewing industry.

The Koilors reportedly already have an investor and hope to obtain a loan from PIDC Philadelphia.