First Central Ohio Black-Owned Brewery Excited For Future Despite Starting In Pandemic
Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that shut down many bars and restaurants, entrepreneur Anthony “Sizzle” Perry decided 2021 was a good time to start the first Black-owned craft brewery in Central Ohio.
“We’re just really having fun with an opportunity to be ourselves in an industry where we never really felt like we had that,” Perry, owner of Crafted Culture Brewing Company, said.
In February, the Columbus native opened Crafted Culture Brewing Company in Gahanna, where a former brewery existed. Perry, an Army veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan, explains that his costs were less because of the abnormal economy.
“We didn’t require as much as usual because of what was going on,” Perry said. “Breweries were closing down pretty consistently. Equipment was going on sale from auctions, and we were like hey let’s seize this opportunity and we ran with it and we’re excited.”
Perry says his nickname "Sizzle" started when he was attending Gahanna Lincoln High. He admits he could be a troublemaker, but he was attracted to math and science classes. During his senior high, he transferred to Columbus' Horizon Science Academy where he graduated.
Perry said the business is growing faster than he anticipated. As more businesses reopen for the summer, Perry said opportunities are building. Crafted Culture will provide beer brews for Zoombezi Bay at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium. It will also be part of a huge brewery festival in Pittsburgh called “Barrel & Flow” in September.
Perry said what separates his business from other breweries is that he has actively sought out brew and atmosphere ideas from a wide range of the community, so they feel more welcome to the craft brewery experience.
“We reached out to our LGBTQ friends,” Perry said. “We reached out to our African American friends. We reached out to the women who are accepted in this industry but not included, like they’re not a decision maker. We said let’s make some decisions you guys.”
Perry discovered that out of 7,300 craft breweries in the U.S. only 60 were Black-owned. However, Black people accounted for about 12% of the industries $27 billion revenue.
“Less than 30 of them are brick and mortar,” Perry said. “So, most of them are contract brewing their beer or sending their beer to distributors. And they’re thinning out the margins that are possible for their brands as a result.”
Perry said he hopes his business can be a vehicle to help the Black dollar recycle within the Black community. His slogan “Beer the change” emphasizes his goals.
“Craft beer accepts everyone but doesn’t always include everyone,” Perry said. “So, when you make your platform to include people, they’re going to come out regardless. We started including people who didn’t have a voice in the industry.”
Perry hopes in the next 10 years his brewery will expand to multiple locations throughout Ohio.