Opening a craft brewery is never easy; launching a craft brewery in the midst of the second wave of a pandemic stretches the limits of possibility. Yet Terry Rostic and Jamaal Ewig refused to be deterred. The duo had planned to launch Black Calder, the first Black-owned brewery in their home state of Michigan at the tail end of 2019. When COVID-19 interfered, they recalibrated.
“It has been a struggle to launch during a pandemic, but we also see it as somewhat of a blessing in disguise,” Ewig says. “Our original plans were to launch with a taproom at the end of 2019, which would have been disastrous for us a few months later.”
Rather than debut with a brick-and-mortar space, Rostic and Ewig have decided to turn to contract brewing, also known as nomadic brewing, for the time being. It’s a path that allowed household names like Evil Twin, To Øl, and Stillwater Artisanal Ales to build up a reputation while keeping their overhead costs low. Black Calder has been working with Brewery Vivant and Broad Leaf Local Beer for months now. This Black Friday, they plan to release their inaugural beer. At 7% ABV, Black IPA has notes of toffee and caramel balanced by a hint of citrus from Mosaic and Idaho 7 hops.
“Contracting, for the time being, gives us flexibility as we need to navigate the uncertainty of what’s still to come,” Ewig says. “We’ve got a lot of great beer ideas we want to try and have been seeing a ton of support from the craft beer community statewide, so we’re excited to get on tap in pubs and have some cans at retailers asap in 2021.”
“We met in 2016 at an event and quickly realized the passion we both had for craft beer, community, and togetherness,” Rostic says. “We didn’t see a lot of diversity in the breweries we frequented or themes that were representative of our culture.”
“We started kicking around the idea of starting our own brewery and, in 2018, we pitched the idea at a local business competition called 100 Ideas sponsored by Start Garden and won,” Rostic says. “Since then, we’ve never looked back. Black Calder Brewing Company was established to make great beer and provide a platform for innovation, art, culture, and inclusion through collaborations in the craft beer industry.”
This content was originally published here.