Tastemakers 2021: Anthony “Sizzle” Perry Jr., Owner of Crafted Culture Brewing Co.
The owner of the first Black-owned brewery in Columbus wants to help other minorities break into the brewing industry. Here's how he's doing it.
After getting out of the Army, Anthony Perry Jr. returned to Columbus. He managed a stir fry restaurant for a bit and then landed a job at Actual Brewing. When the business closed in 2019 amid sexual assault allegations against owner Fred Lee, Perry started brainstorming ideas for his own brewery. In February, Crafted Culture Brewing Co. opened in the former Kindred Brewing spot in Gahanna.
The motto of Crafted Culture is “(Be)er the change.” Besides making the brewery an inclusive space for everyone, Perry also wants to help other minorities “get into this industry and view it as a viable means of income.” His mission doesn’t stop at Crafted Culture, though. Perry’s goal is to affect positive change in minority communities, from sponsoring youth athletic programs to working with the nonprofit Helping Hops to hosting minority-owned food trucks at the brewery. He’s organizing an “around the block” tour next year that will allow attendees to visit several Black-owned businesses via bus in one day. “It’s not about us at all,” Perry says. “It’s about the Black dollar cycling its way through the community.”
From Ice Cream to the Army
When Perry was 9, his grandpa showed up at his house with an ice cream truck. His grandpa’s reasoning? He wanted to teach Perry how to count money. “That was my summer job from 9 to 16. I graduated at 17, and then it was a full-time job for me while I was in the National Guard,” recalls Perry. The business—Mr. Ice Cream Man—had seven trucks and distributed to corner stores on the East Side of Columbus. When he joined the Army and worked in logistics, Perry realized he was doing the same tasks he did with his grandpa. Today, Perry pays homage to his grandfather through a series of ice cream-inspired beers, including Orange Dreamsicle Sour and Neapolitan Stout.
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On Being the First
As the only Black-owned brewery in Central Ohio, Crafted Culture is changing the local craft beer scene simply by existing. However, Perry says he’s been told by some white people that being a Black brewery “isn’t enough” to stand out—a criticism that is never lobbed at white-owned breweries. As a father of five, Perry knows how vital it is for young Black people to see others doing what they hope to do. “Being Black is enough,” Perry says. “If this ain’t enough, I’ll expend everything trying to prove it.”
Crafted Culture Brewing Co.
505 Morrison Road, Gahanna
Find more of Columbus' Rising Culinary Stars:Tastemakers Class of 2021
Hometown: East Side of Columbus
What did you learn during the pandemic? “You got to be Quail Man from Doug,” he says, referencing the Nickelodeon cartoon from the ’90s. “Because the only three things you need are patience, intelligence and speed.”
What’s something you are excited about right now? “2022 Barrel & Flow Fest. ... We’re attempting to partner with a brewery out of Philadelphia, Mack Brewing Co. [for the festival]. … It’ll probably be the first beer we mass distribute.”
What does Columbus need? “A dope brunch spot for people like me. I need my food, my vibes, my people. And I don’t have that yet—not for brunch. When’s the last time you heard Earth, Wind & Fire at brunch?”
Reading recommendation: “The Beer Bible” by Jeff Alworth
This story is from the December 2021 issue of Columbus Monthly.