Meet the only Black woman to own a brewery in D.C. who started as a bartender

Eamoni Collier recently made history as the founder and leader of the only Black woman-owned beer company in D.C., and now she is making strides to diversify the craft beer scene in the “Chocolate City”.

The entrepreneur began Urban Garden Brewing after making her own beer with ingredients she sourced from her uncle’s backyard in District Heights, Maryland. According to Shine My Crown, Collier first began her career in the beer industry as a bartender at Right Proper.

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 launched in 2021, is growing, but her sole issue remains: outsourcing the brewing process. She must go through a difficult and expensive process to get her products throughout the city (and briefly in Chicago) by outsourcing the brewing to other nearby breweries, which slows down the growth of her business because she is unable to create huge 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 likes to put creative, sometimes even floral, spins on beers, with the hopes of appealing to both men and women. On her website, Collier shared that her beer recipes are inspired by the ancient practices of Egyptian women, who, according to history, believed that beer had powerful healing properties.

“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 passionate about broadening the beer industry’s customer base. She noted that nationwide, about 99% of the craft beer industry is white.

“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.

Dollita Okine

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