Philly’s first Black-owned brewery, Two Locals Brewing Company, opens new brick-and-mortar in University City

PHILADELPHIA - The story behind Two Locals Brewing Company all started with a love for beer and Mengistu Koilor’s brother Richard asking a question.

"He one day looked at me and said ‘hey why don’t we try making some beer’, and I laughed," said Mengistu, the co-founder of Two Locals Brewing Company.

Well, that question quickly became less of a joke and more of an actual goal.

Richard got a home brew kit and, just like that, he was busy crafting up beers.

"He made an Irish red ale and let me try it. It tasted good, I was like ‘wow you made beer, okay’", said Mengistu.

From there, they began a weekend operation, crafting and serving some great brews.

"Sometimes Saturday and Sunday at my house, in my kitchen, until my wife said enough get out of my kitchen with this, take that in the backyard. We moved to the backyard at my house and sometimes we would brew at his place," said Mengistu.

What started out as friends and family tasting the beer became those in the community.

The beer was such a success that they started their business, Two Locals Brewing Company, in 2018.


Partnering with other local breweries to serve their beer as the looked for a permanent home.

"Taught us how to brew at a larger scale outside of just home brewing but also how to run the business," said Mengistu.

All things that helped prepare them for January 31st of this year, when they opened their new brewery in University City, becoming the first Black-owned brewery in Philly.

"It’s surreal, but it’s hard to sit back and appreciate the moment, what it means," said Mengistu.

With that being said, they do understand the impact they have on the city they love and the beer industry.

"We want our people to look at us and be proud of us, know that even if you’re looking to do something in a space that you’re not represented in, you can make it happen," said Mengistu.

The brothers say they are hoping members of the community will give their beers and food a try, especially those within the black community.