The first Black-owned brewery in Durham, North Carolina is now officially open for business.

Mike Potter, the entrepreneur who has already brought other vibrant ideas to the community, opened Proximity Brewing on Dec. 3, Axios reported. The historic brewery includes an indoor bar, lounge and outdoor patio.

Potter partnered with some of the state’s top breweries to craft the beverages at Proximity. The partners include Charlotte’s Resident Culture, Winston-Salem’s Incendiary, Cary’s Bond Brothers and Durham’s Fullsteam.

Potter is also the creator of Black Brew Culture, a festival that helps Black brewers promote their business.

“When you’re talking about brewers, there’s not a lot of time for social media, advertising, promotion, and that’s where I felt most useful,” Potter told Forbes in 2019.  “I could assist people with recommendations, plugs, referrals. That’s the idea behind Black Brew Culture.”

Potter said he has been fascinated with beer since his younger days in Pittsburgh. As he started to pursue his dream of owning a brewery, Potter said he joined his friends in the basement of his print shop to brew some beer.

“We made a couple funky batches, started getting better, and we thought, This is a no brainer. We’ve got the branding, we’re making decent beer,” Potter told Forbes. “But then I realized all the work and money and time it took to get that off the ground. It fizzled out. I knew it could happen but it was a lot, and I already had a print business.”

The North Carolina entrepreneur said it was initially difficult to find Black brewers who could help him launch his business. Eventually, however, Potter found a way to make key connections.

“When I got too busy to keep brewing and discouraged by the process of starting a brewery, that’s when I thought, What kind of platform could I create? Who could I help promote?” he said. “It took the form of a magazine called Black Brew Culture. I thought we could get media going and that would be our way of getting into the industry. It ended up becoming an advocacy role that I found myself in. I love that. I love the idea of being a connector and a lynchpin.”

In a video posted on the TikTok page, Discover Durham, Potter proudly talked about the mission at Proximity Brewing.

“We wanna create beers and products that reflect on the rich cultural heritage of Durham, definitely past African American history as well as the present entrepreneurial spirit that exists today in Durham,” he said.


Proximity Brewing will be the first Black-owned brewery in Durham! We spoke with founder Mike Potter about his collab with @Fullsteam Brewery and his festival Blacktoberfest 🍻 Visit for tickets

♬ original sound – Discover Durham