When Jamaal Ewing and Terry Rostic launched Michigan’s first-ever Black-owned craft brewery in Grand Rapids last year, they were mindful of the culture they’d be representing. It’s part of the reason they went one step further and became the first brewery to use a Black woman in its logo. The regal crown of Mbaba Mwana Waresa—the South African goddess of beer—graces every can produced by Black Calder Brewing Company.
“It’s a lot of responsibility to represent your culture in the right way,” Rostic says. “We want to project that strong image of Black people, Black men in business, Black businesses—all of that. That’s super important to us.”
The friends and business partners both hold MBAs and have utilized their degrees to strategize a path forward and outline a genius marketing plan. Case in point? Black Calder’s latest release, Bishop IPA, is a nod to Tupac Shakur’s character in the cult-classic hip-hop flick “Juice.”
To date, they’ve released six brews, including three collaborations, but their most meaningful project is funding a new scholarship for Grand Rapids Community College’s craft brewing program to attract more African-American students to the industry.
Follow them: @blackcalderbrewing