Clarence Boston, from co-owning funeral homes to opening a brewery that made history

Abu Mubarik November 01, 2022
Boston and his wife and co-founder, Donnica. Photo via Instagram

Clarence Boston is a Reidsville native and an entrepreneur with many businesses. Boston, who moved to Charlotte from Reidsville, created financial success in the businesses he founded. He started the Boston Investment Group, Boston’s Mortuary, American Standard Vault Company, Cremation Society of Charlotte, Cremation Services of Atlanta and Piedmont Cemetery. 

Also, he is the co-owner of Fire House Bar and Lounge, Secret Society Cigar Bar and Lounge, Stump Sound Oyster Company and Hippin’ Hops Brewery. Boston bought Boston’s Mortuary after he moved to North Carolina with his wife. However, he sold the funeral home to co-create a string of breweries called Hippin’ Hops, the first Black-owned brick-and-mortar brewery in Georgia.

Boston told CBS 46 that he was surprised to discover that he is the owner of the first Black brewery in Georgia’s history. “We were shocked. We didn’t even know.”

Data from the Brewers Association shows that Black-owned breweries only account for, under one percent of all craft breweries throughout the U.S. In addition, Black businesses simply lack the capital to scale up or maintain the business.

Boston recently released five new spirits to be sold across North Carolina and Georgia: Noire Cognac H.D. Age, Noire Cognac VS, Noire Cognac N.O., Carreta De Oro Blanco Tequila and Carreta De Oro Blanco Reposado Tequila.

He took this step after he saw his businesses experience the effects of the nationwide alcohol shortage, according to City Metro. “During the pandemic, there were labour and bottle shortages…,” he told City Metro. “It was a problem that I thought I needed to try to help solve with putting together a quality product because, even in my bars, we didn’t have what we were used to selling our customers.”

Boston traveled to a Cognac distiller in France and a Tequila distiller in Mexico and worked out a deal to get a permit to sell spirits in America.

Boston was propelled into the wine industry on the back of the financial muscle of his funeral business, plus owning two real estate acquisition companies and three restaurants in Charlotte.

According to Boston, his move into the wine industry was influenced by his grandmother, who he said used to make wine although he has always been a beer guy.

“I decided to dabble in homebrewing back when I was 22,” he told thrillist.com. “It became a hobby for more than 15 years until I decided to get serious and open my own brewery in Charlotte.”

In his interview with thrillist.com recently, Boston said he was just starting. According to him, the spirit industry needs more people who look like him.

“My plan for the future is to become a national Black beer and spirits brand sold in all 50 states with a lot of recognition for my efforts coming along with the journey,” he said. “That way, my people see it can be done.”

Boston first started his brewery location in Atlanta before expanding to Queen City. Now the brewery has a fourth location in NoDa.

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