When Philly’s own Charisse McGill launched her French Toast Bites by Lokal Artisan Foods, the entrepreneur’s sweet offerings were a hit—but now the flavors of these creations are going to be offered to Philadelphians like never before.
McGill partnered up with Doylestown Brewing Company to produce the French Toast Bites Ale, making McGill the first black female in the state of Pennsylvania to have her own beer. This new libation is 5.5% ABV and is a “sweet, smooth and toasted dessert brew that pairs great with breakfast, brunch, dinner or dessert.” The Ale will be available in 16-ounce cans in four-packs, as well as in a limited run of kegs through distributor Muller, Inc.
“I am so excited to share news of my new French Toast Bites Ale in partnership with Doylestown Brewing Company,” said McGill in a statement. “I am a fighter, a dreamer and a doer. Getting out of the box and getting creative is what gets me up in the morning. I have long been curious about the beer business as I work with so many talented brewers and bars in my hospitality day to day life.
“Doing my own French Toast Bites Ale is a dream come true, and one of several big things happening this fall and into the winter,” she continued. “We all can’t sit around and hope to ride out the pandemic without investing the time, work, energy and passion. This is one of the largest pivots for me — and will shape the future direction of my company. I am excited and honored — and I can’t wait for everyone to try this special beer we have created.”
McGill, 38, attended Temple University in the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management and most recently, McGill launched her business after her daughter, Madison, who had her own lemonade stand venture, helped ignite the sweet spark that later became French Toast Bites. McGill’s maiden voyage was at the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market at Dilworth Park, and after just a short time there, the french toast maven became one of the most sought after booths in the venue. With those profits, McGill was able to expand and even craft her own French Toast spice blend, with the tagline, “The Only French Toast Seasoning You Will Need.”
McGill herself went to work when COVID-19 hit becoming the first paid vendor on the Black-owned and operated Black and Mobile delivery service and by partnering with Better Box to share kitchen and cooking facilities to host pop-up sales via delivery and pick-up. The entrepreneur also became one of 60 people to win a grant from Black People Eats, which helped her then raise 100% of her goal through a community Kiva loan, and was awarded a Magic Johnson forgivable loan to minority-owned businesses through Johnson’s EquiTrust Life Insurance Company. McGill also received a grant from the PA 30 Day Fund, all of which helped her sustain her passion project during the pandemic.
To further continue and capitalize on her success, McGill received the call after a summer at Spruce Street Harbor Park where she received a lot of praise and attention.
“When Doylestown Brewing Company reached out, the question wasn’t yes or no, the question was how fast, how big and when can we get started,” said McGill. “You have had our French Toast Bites at Made in America, Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market, Piazza Pod Park, South Street Spring Festival, East Passyunk Flavors of the Avenue and Spruce Street Harbor Park. Now get ready to drink our signature spices and flavors too. We made the beer with actual handmade bites — so that the final brew embodies the perfect balance of vanilla and our rich signature spice blend.”
According to the release, for the process, McGill fired up her signature French Toast Bites and headed to the brewery to collaborate and soak in every step of the brewing process. In addition, goPuff also contacted McGill for a partnership so they could bring the beer to market in an effort to support local and small businesses. GoPuff brought the beer to market on Friday, Oct. 30, through their app and platform. Lokal Artisan Foods will be featured alongside other local iconic brands such as Federal Donuts, Famous 4th Street Cookie Company and La Colombe with the popular delivery service. The beer will be available in the Local Favorites, as well as the beer tabs within the app. The beer will retail on goPuff for $13.49 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans. goPuff will have French Toast Bites Ale available for home-delivery through the app in the Philadelphia market to start, and in addition to goPuff, French Toast Bites Ale will be distributed through Muller, Inc. distribution to local restaurants, bars and bottle shops in cans, kegs and sixtelles.
“At goPuff, we are committed to working with and supporting local businesses in each of our communities — and this is especially true in Philadelphia, our home city,” said Rafael Ilishayev, goPuff co-founder and co-CEO in a statement. “Because of this, partnering with Lokal Artisan Foods, a Black- and female-founded business in Philadelphia, aligns with our mission and we are so excited to work with Charisse to bring her new French Toast Beer to customers for the very first time.”
Those who don’t get a chance to sample the new brew can also try McGill’s French Toast Bites at Christmas Village in Philadelphia this year and also at a pop-up coming to Northern Liberties after Thanksgiving.
For more about Lokal Artisan Foods, visit lokalartisanfoods.com. Connect on social media at @lokalartisanfoods on Facebook and Instagram. For more about the French Toast Ale, visit lokalartisanfoods.com.