Two Locals Brewing Co., Philadelphia’s first Black-owned brewery, has signed a lease for a brewery and taproom at uCity Square, a mixed-use development on the Drexel University campus at 37th and Market Streets in University City.
Brothers Richard and Mengistu Koilor, whose beers are now being contract-brewed out of Mainstay Independent Brewing in Northern Liberties, hope to open in summer 2023.
The Koilors are working with Wexford Science & Technology to develop the space, which has not had a tenant since it was completed in 2018. The nearly 6,000 square feet will house a 15-barrel brew house, typical of a medium to large brew pub, that will be visible from 37th Street. The taproom entrance will be midblock, closer to Filbert Street.
The Koilors said Wexford was helping with the buildout. Besides bootstrapping the project, they have an investor and hope to obtain a loan from the PIDC.
Two Locals’ beer list — now two — will expand to include 12 taps. They will also sell Pennsylvania wines, ciders, and spirits. The menu will feature bar food plus a weekly dish inspired by the brothers’ Liberian and Jamaican heritage. Megistu, 42, moved from Liberia to Philadelphia when he was 7, while Richard, 31, was born here; they grew up in what is now known as the Cedar Park section of West Philadelphia. It’s 10 minutes from the new location, a point that drives home the Locals in their brand name.
“There are not a lot of places in West Philly that can house a brewery,” Megistu said. “The places where there might be a building, the area isn’t really ready for a brewery. University City puts us close enough to where we grew up that we can still have an effect on the community, and it’s a higher visibility for our first space.”