Vine Street Brewing Co., Missouri‘s first Black-owned brewery, has been awarded $25,000 to help take the business to new heights.

According to KC Today, the funds are thanks to the Kansas City G.I.F.T program, which awards two grants each quarter to Black-owned businesses around Kansas City, Missouri. The program prioritizes businesses that operate in economically disadvantaged areas. 

Vine Street Brewing Co. opened earlier this year. In June, founder Kemet Coleman confessed that it wasn’t the taste of beer that drew him to the industry, KCUR reported. 

“I tried maybe a Boulevard Wheat or something,” he told the public radio service. “I really didn’t know the difference between any of the styles, or what was possible with beer.”

Things changed when he learned the connection between Black culture and beer.

“When I first discovered that beer was an African invention, that really blew my mind,” Coleman, a jazz performer and rapper, said. “The ancient Egyptians were an evolution of that. It goes tens of thousands of years back in time. African women were essentially the first brewers.”

The brand’s logo reflects that rich history and features a beer goddess, Maris, whose Afro and other features are reminiscent of the people who created beer. Its imagery directly combats the white-centric beer industry in the U.S.

“There’s glaring underrepresentation in the brewing industry,” Elliott Ivory, head brewer and co-founder of Vine Street, told KCUR. “Progress requires a collective effort. We’re grateful the KC scene comes with friends and supporters, both within and outside of the industry.”

The brewery plans to use the money to expand its production by buying a fifth fermenter, building a brand-new cold room, and investing in training and other development services for its team.

The award comes after Vine Street Brewing Co. snagged first place in The Pitch’s Best of KC 2023 Awards for best new brewery. The company celebrated the achievement on Instagram, thanking the Kansas City community for its support. 

“We couldn’t have done it without you, Kansas City, and we can’t wait to continue sharing memorable moments and outstanding brews with our incredible community,” Vine Street Brewing Co. wrote in part. “🙏🏾🥳 Thank you for making us the Best New Brewery in town!”