Botwc Firsts

Meet Celeste Beatty, The First Black Woman To Own A Brewery In The U.S.

Meet Celeste Beatty, The First Black Woman To Own A Brewery In The U.S.

This is a definite game changer!

Celeste Beatty, owner of the Harlem Brewing Company, is the first Black female brewery owner in the United States, Insider reports.

Beatty founded Harlem Brewing in 2000, making her first batch of beer in her apartment using a home brew kit she received as a gift. She worked hard perfecting her recipes and grew the business into the specialty craft brew that it is today. Beatty creates beers inspired by Harlem and ancient African traditions, using loads of flavors with the aim of celebrating Black culture and heritage. 

The craft beer industry has been mostly made up of rich white men for the last 40 years. Beatty’s presence alone is a disrupter. Beatty suggests that less than 1% of US craft breweries are owned by African Americans and studies show that Black people only make up 10% of weekly beer drinkers. But Beatty hopes to change that through her company while also educating people. 

“Even though we brought our traditions from Africa, and we brewed beer for Thomas Jefferson and various people that enslaved us, we were never able to actually open the brewery, we were never able to actually be the entrepreneurs early on. So, there is no tradition of owning breweries, of owning bars, because of that discrimination,” Beatty said.

Harlem Brewing aims to create a new tradition. With flavors like the Sugar Hill Golden Ale, Renaissance Wit and 125 IPA, Beatty is telling the story. And she hopes that through that story, she is able to create community. That’s why her next step is to open a brewpub in Harlem. 

Beatty previously spoke to Edible Manhattan about the brewpub saying that she wants “to make it a teaching brewery, where [she] would invite people from the community to learn to brew.” She also wants to make sure that the people in the community have ownership in the brewpub.

“My interest is to make sure that some part of the company is owned by the community. In this world that we live in, we’ve got to find a way to get people in the community not just working there, but they’ve got to have some equity in it,” Beatty told Insider. 

You can find stores that carry Harlem Brewing Company craft beers via the website at harlembrewing.com.

Congratulations Celeste! We wish you continued success in all of your endeavors.

 Photo Courtesy of Erin Gleeson/Edible Manhattan