Eamoni Collier just made history as the founder and head of D.C.’s only Black woman-owned brewery, and she is now working to broaden the craft beer sector in the “Chocolate City.”
After producing her own beer with ingredients from her uncle’s backyard in District Heights, Maryland, the entrepreneur founded Urban Garden Brewing. Collier began her career in the beer industry as a bartender at Right Proper, according to Shine My Crown.
She told WTOP, “It’s just been amazing.” After she started her business, getting her beers out there meant “lots of events, lots of just building our Urban Garden following.”
Her company, which she founded in 2021, is expanding, but her fundamental challenge remains: outsourcing the brewing process. She must go through a rigorous and costly process to distribute her products throughout the city (and briefly in Chicago) by outsourcing the brewing to other neighboring breweries, which hinders the growth of her business because she cannot produce large batches.
Undeterred and driven by the great feedback from customers, Collier decided to open her own brewery, and she is on the verge of settling a lease in the Fort Totten area. “To support that process, we’re looking to raise $20,000 in order to help with our legal requirements and permitting to help speed the process along,” Collier said.
“So, we’re just reaching out to our community like, ‘Hey, you’ve seen what we can do, you see the passion behind this, the people behind this.’ Now we’re just asking for the help to get us to that next point so we can make this dream come true.”
She enjoys putting imaginative, often floral, spins on beers in the hopes of appealing to both men and women. Collier stated on her website that her beer concoctions are inspired by the ancient rituals of Egyptian women, who, according to history, felt that beer had significant medicinal effects.
“UGB pays tribute to these ancient traditions by crafting brews that are reminiscent of tea, with fragrant and flavorful combinations of flowers, herbs, and spices. Our beer consists of unique blends that are carefully crafted to deliver a one-of-a-kind sensory experience and perceivably therapeutic benefits,” she added.
She is also enthusiastic about expanding the beer industry’s customer base. She pointed out that white people make up around 99% of the craft beer sector statewide.
“Diversity and inclusion is important, especially when we’re talking about ownership and equity. We deserve a piece of the pie. Those numbers have to change. And we have to begin the process starting here, right? You know that this is the nation’s capital,” Collier expressed.
“I think it’s just important because there’s a whole world in craft beer, and I think it’s important that people are welcomed into the community to find their own passions,” she added.