GRAND RAPIDS — Black Calder Brewing Co. is launching its first beer on Nov. 27, or “The Blackest Friday,” as the new brewery’s owners are calling it.
Owned by Grand Rapids native Terry Rostic and long-time Grand Rapids resident Jamaal Ewing, Black Calder is partnering with Broad Leaf Local Beer and using its space in Kentwood to brew.
Rostic and Ewing hope to eventually secure their own taproom for Black Calder Brewing, but until then they plan to collaborate with various local breweries. Broad Leaf is owned by Grand Rapids-based Brewery Vivant.
“Beer represents community, especially in West Michigan, and there’s nothing better than having a beer with great people,” Rostic said. “We’re all about getting people together with a new flavor of beer.”
Ewing and Rostic started out home brewing and toying with their own recipes in small batches. They originally planned to open a brewery in 2016 under the name “Boston Square Brewing Co.,” but received a trademark notice from a national liquor brand with a similar name.
The name came from Ewing and Rostic’s original plan to open a brewery in Grand Rapids’ Boston Square Neighborhood — which could still happen, Ewing said.
“Black Calder Brewing ended up being the better name anyways,” Ewing said. “It was a blessing in disguise that we got the notice from that company.”
They plan to create a variety of beer styles and combinations, but are debuting with the Black Calder Black IPA that was available for preorder starting Nov. 20. It’s available for pickup starting Nov. 27 at Broad Leaf’s Kentwood location.
“I’m just excited about bringing some new flavor to the industry and providing some opportunities and maybe opening the door to people who haven’t seen the representation in this industry and maybe want to get out and give it a try,” Rostic said. “Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it’s open to everyone, but it is.”
The craft beer industry is mostly run by white owners and brewers in West Michigan and across the U.S. According to a 2019 Brewery Operations Benchmarking Survey conducted by the Brewers Association, 76 percent of brewery production staff were white and 89 percent of brewers that responded to the survey were white.
“Maybe we can be the gateway. It excites me that Jamaal and I have this opportunity to provide that inclusion that might have been missing in this area,” Rostic said.
Rostic and Ewing look forward to collaborating with the tight-knit and supportive craft brew community in West Michigan.
“It’s really been cool to see the great reception we’ve gotten in the community and it keeps pouring in,” Ewing said. “I definitely feel like we’re welcomed and have a lot of support.”
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