Harlem Brewing Company is a New York based craft brewery owned by Florence Belsky Charitable Foundation Advisor, Celeste Beatty. The company's Harlem Sugar Hill Golden Ale and Harlem Renaissance Wit is available in 39 Walmart stores and select Whole Foods Markets, but Beatty is out in the trade every day looking for other opportunities.
HH: How long have you been brewing and what led you to this industry?
CB: I started brewing in my apartment in Harlem 17 years ago. Early on, I realized that brewing is cooking, and I love cooking. My other passion is gardening (love to grow hops) and I was able to connect my passions by brewing with ingredients from my garden. Brewing is similar to making a soup, or a tasty recipe and I fell in love with it instantly.
HH: What kind of culture do you want to create for employees of Harlem Brewing Co.?
CB: Coming from a family of community advocates in North Carolina, I gravitated towards a network of activist here in Harlem. There are many community activists that are very interested in preserving institutions in Harlem, so the importance of community has always been a big focus of the brand and my personal beliefs. I like to say, "brew it forward", finding ways to not just make a great product, but do good in the community with the products that we make. That's something that we instill in our team and our community members that support the brand. We also like to work with organizations that seek to preserve and celebrate our community history. I think the brand and the culture that we have as a company is really about using the platforms that we create not to just make a great product, but to make a difference.
HH: Where can customers find your products?
CB: New York City, DC/Maryland, Michigan, South and North Carolina, Georgia and we’ll be launching into Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois and several other markets in the near future. As for retail market places in New York, we are available at Best Yet Market, Fine Fare, Pioneer, Key Food, Olive Market, Ideal, CTown, Walmart, some of the Whole Foods Markets and Fresh Direct.
HH: As Founder of a brewing company what challenges can you share with individuals that are interested in working in the food and beverage industry?
CB: Go into it with heart and passion. The food and beverage industry is very friendly and welcoming to people who are passionate about the craft, that are sincerely dedicated to the community and quality production. It's not just about how much money you can make. This is the kind of business you go into because you are very passionate about the craft and the community you choose to locate yourself in. It has to be about the give back, not just what you can get. Whether it be in the local or regional community, I don’t think any serious entrepreneurship can survive without having a sincere dedication to giving back, providing jobs, having events throughout the year, etc. Entrepreneurship and service have to go hand in hand. We are in a new world now, we can't just ignore our communities we have to be aware of our potential positive impact.
To learn more about Harlem Brewing Company visit the company's website and social media pages