2020 Newsmaker of the Year: State’s first Black-owned brewery opens in Grand Rapids

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Black Calder co-owners Jamaal Ewing, left, and Terry Rostic Courtesy Black Calder Brewing Co.

CATEGORY: Beverages

WINNERS: Terry Rostic and Jamaal Ewing

COMPANY: Black Calder Brewing Co.

Terry Rostic and Jamaal Ewing unveiled their vision to be Michigan’s first Black-owned brewery at Start Garden back in 2018. Even though a series of trademark disputes and rebrands slowed their dream, 2020 turned out to be the year of kings.

Formerly planned as King’s Brewing Co., Rostic and Ewing officially started business as Black Calder Brewing Co. in November.

The road to opening was long but worth the effort.

“Black Calder Brewing Company was established to make great beer and provide a platform for innovation, art, culture and inclusion in the craft beer industry,” Rostic said. “We appreciate the significance of being recognized as Michigan’s first Black-owned brewery. It’s something Michigan and the craft beer industry has been longing for, but it’s not the only thing we want to be known for. Our motto is simple: ‘Make dope beer for dope people.’”

Rostic and Ewing celebrated the opening of Michigan’s first Black-owned brewery with the launch of Black IPA, the first in a series of Black Calder beers to come, including imperial stouts, barrel- and wood-aged beers, fruit ales, kettle sours, IPAs, lagers and craft ciders.

The craft beer industry was full of flavor, community and creativity,” Ewing said. “The passion that brewers, owners and staff put into creating a unique experience was refreshing. What we didn’t see were diversity and themes that spoke to the culture that we represent.”

Rostic and Ewing said they are proud to be part of the movement of diversity and inclusion in the Michigan craft beer scene and hope their example encourages other members of minority communities to get involved in the industry.

Click here to read about the other winners of the 2020 Newsmakers of the Year.

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