Two brothers named Richard and Mengistu Koilor are making history in Philadelphia after opening the doors of Two Locals Brewing Company, the first black-owned brewery.

The duo were always fans of beer, but their journey of crafting it started in 2016. Randomly, Richard suggested to his brother that they should try to create a drink of their own, FOX29 reported.

“He one day looked at me and said, ‘hey why don’t we try making some beer’, and I laughed,” Mengistu told the news station.


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Serious about making his idea a reality, Richard purchased a home brew kit that led him to craft a special Irish red ale. When he let his brother try it, they both agreed that the flavor was delicious.

“He made an Irish red ale and let me try it. It tasted good, I was like ‘Wow you made beer, okay,'” Mengistu said.

The entrepreneurs first utilized Mengistu’s kitchen before his wife asked them to move their operations to the backyard and Richard’s house. This led them to start creating different beers, which they shared with their family and friends.

“Sometimes Saturday and Sunday at my house, in my kitchen, until my wife said, ‘enough get out of my kitchen with this, take that in the backyard.’ We moved to the backyard at my house and sometimes we would brew at his place,” Mengistu said.

Eventually, they decided it was time to offer their beer to their community on the weekends. Due to the great response and support from customers, they made their business official and launched Two Locals Brewing Company in 2018. While they shopped for a brick-and-mortar location, they developed partnerships with local bars that served their beers. Through the relationships they developed, the brothers learned “how to brew at a larger scale outside of just home brewing but also how to run the business.”

They found their ideal storefront location and prepped for the Jan. 31 grand opening.

“It’s surreal, but it’s hard to sit back and appreciate the moment, what it means,” Mengistu said.

Richard and Mengistu hope to create a welcoming safe space for all people, but especially for community members who look like them since they’re the first Black people in the city to own a brewery. In addition to wanting to inspire others to go after their dreams, they hope to introduce more people to different types of beer, which can be an acquired taste for some. They offer multiple flavors like “Nubian Brown Ale,” “LOFA LAGER,” “If These Walls Could Talk,” “Two’s Daze,” and more.

“We want our people to look at us and be proud of us, know that even if you’re looking to do something in a space that you’re not represented in, you can make it happen,” Mengistu shared.

Learn more about Two Locals Brewing Company in the video below!