City of Brotherly Brews

Richard and Mengistu Koilor are the owners and brewers of Two Locals Brewing Company, Philadelphia’s first Black-owned brewery.
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The City of Brotherly Love is also home to many beloved brews, and now Philly has a new draft to indulge in.

Two Locals Brewing Company, Philadelphia’s first Black-owned brewery, announced the launch of its first beer release last week. Under a new relationship with FCM Hospitality and Mainstay Independent Brewing, Two Locals owners and brewers Richard and Mengistu Koilor have recently launched their Nubian Brown Ale (5.7% ABV), Prolific Hazy IPA (6.4% ABV) and Who You Wit? Belgian-style Witbier (5.7% ABV) to the Philadelphia marketplace in 16 ounce cans, four packs and Sixtel kegs. 

“Two Locals Brewing Company is excited to debut our first beers and begin sales to the public starting this week,” said Richard in a statement. “This moment has been a long time coming since our early days of homebrewing back in 2016.”

Two Locals is not only the first Black-owned independent brewery in Philadelphia, but also one of the first in the state of Pennsylvania as well. The brewery, owned and operated by the Koilor brothers, is looking to expand and open up Philadelphia’s first Black-owned brick-and-mortar brewery and taphouse as well. Mengistu was born in Liberia and came here when he was 7 years old, while his brother, Richard, was born in Philadelphia.

“The craft beer world needs more representation and more people like us,” said Mengistu in a statement. “We want to release great craft beer we can be proud of, but we also have a larger social mission. There’s a very small percentage of craft breweries in the United States, and I think African Americans represent 1%. That needs to change. If you love beer, our brewing company is representative of our culture and we hope you will try us out. The time has come for our first releases and we are ready to make our mark on the craft beer scene.”

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The brothers got their start in the home-brew scene in 2016, and after years of sampling their brews at a variety of events, they gained enough popularity in 2020 when they joined forces with Harris Family Brewery and Double Eagle Malting to collaborate on the Black is Beautiful beer at Callowhill’s Love City Brewing. Over $9,000 in proceeds was raised and donated to support Black Lives Matter with that brew alone. 

Then, the brothers made another important connection.  

According to a release, after meeting Avram Hornik in 2020, the two brothers and Hornik regrouped in January of 2021 and a deal was struck that would help Two Locals bring their first brews to the public market. The three formalized their relationship in February. Hornik then introduced the brothers to Mainstay’s brewer and operate Brian O’Brien – and together the four would work together on the brewing, canning and production process while still having the Koilor brother’s as the sole owners of Two Locals Brewery. Hornik is known for his support of local businesses that are looking to expand, as seen in his partnerships with the famous Lost Bread Co. and Mainstay Independent Brewing at Craft Hall. This incubation period for Two Locals Brewery is his way to give his support to this budding new brand.

“I stand behind what Richard and Mengistu are doing with Two Locals Brewing,” said Hornik in the release. “They are a talented and driven team who are working hard to expand awareness of craft beer in their community, all while they look to make history with their first brewery.”

Two Locals’ first release, the Nubian, is packaged as a brown ale with a flavor profile with hints of fresh-baked bread, nutty aromas and medium roasted coffee. Nuvian will be sold in 16 ounce cans, four packs and Sixtel kegs with four packs running at $15 online, or $85 for a case. For their second release, Two Locals introduced the Prolific, a hazy IPA with a flavor profile featuring hints of mango nectar, guava and pineapple. The IPA will be sold in 16 ounce cans, four packs and Sixtel kegs with four packs running $17 online, or $95 for a case. Later this month, imbibers can keep an eye out forl Two Locals’ Who You Wit?, a Belgian-style Witbier featuring citrus and clove hints with a peppery and crisp taste. Who You Wit? will be sold in 16 ounce cans, four packs and Sixtel kegs. This new product will be available in four packs and cases, with exact pricing being finalized in the near future.

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Sticking to their mission of not only quenching the thirst of libation lovers, but also bringing awareness to the growing Black brewing community, the two brothers also want to open doors for opportunities that the brewing industry has to offer.

“We would like to encourage and see more people from our community go to school for beer certificates and degrees. While we are the first and only Black-owned brewery in the city, we hope that other Black-owned breweries join us and aren’t far behind. We would love to see our story inspire others and add to the diversity of our beer community.”

Nubian and Prolific are now available through twolocalsbrewing.com and Philadelphians can also find the brothers at Craft Hall, 901 N. Delaware Avenue on Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 6 p.m. Both will launch on BierMe for delivery, as well as in various bottle shops, bars and restaurants, later this month. Who You Wit? will be available for online and in-person sales next to Nubian and Prolific with the anticipated release date in mid-May.

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