Get to Know the Man Behind Crafted Culture Brewing
For Anthony “Sizzle” Perry Jr., launching a brewery is about more than the beer.
Picture a craft brewery owner in your head. He’s probably male, white, burly and sports a beard, right?
That description doesn’t apply to Anthony “Sizzle” Perry Jr. He’s Black, an East Side native (Livingston and Barnett), a father of five, an Army veteran who did two tours in Afghanistan, an accounting major, a serial entrepreneur and a seeming extrovert who claims he’s more comfortable playing video games in his basement.
As the founder of Central Ohio’s first Black-owned brewery, Crafted Culture, Perry is also one member of a small club of Black brewery owners who make up only 1 percent of the industry nationally, according to a 2019 survey by the Brewers Association. Crafted Culture opened in February, taking over the former Kindred Brewing space in Gahanna.
“Geographical exclusion” is one reason there’s a dearth of Black-owned breweries, Perry says. “When you talk to people who brew beer, home brewers, you ask them where they brew beer: ‘In my garage, in my basement, in my shed out back.’ Where I grew up, we didn’t have garages, many of us didn’t have basements. … We definitely didn’t have sheds in our backyards. So how do you homebrew?”
Perry says Crafted Culture is less about the beer—though he loves beer—and more about the mission behind it: creating a community space that is comfortable and inclusive for women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, non-alcohol drinkers and others. The brewery’s tagline is “Be[er] the Change.”
Helping to execute whatever Perry dreams up is Crafted Culture’s head brewer, Zac Baaske. “What’s Zac’s really great at is what Disney would call ‘imagineering,’ right? He turns my imagination into feats of engineering great beer,” Perry says. One example is Crafted Culture’s warm-weather series of radlers, Return of the Hot Girl Summer, featuring flavors such as guava, grapefruit and lime. (Radlers are half-beer/half-soda concoctions that originated in Bavaria, Germany.)
“Especially this time of year, I want something fruity, crisp, light, easy-drinking,” Perry says. “Stereotypically, I’m not the consumer for that beer, right? They’re like, ‘dudes, don’t drink beer like that.’ ... I’m not pretending to be a bro with my beer, I’m drinking the beer I enjoy.”
Another summertime offering in the works is Mr. Ice Cream Man, a series of beers that pay homage to the ice cream truck business Perry ran with his granddad on the East Side. Every summer, from age 9 to 17, that’s how Perry learned the ins and outs of being a small business owner. “I went from riding around on ice cream trucks to reading over the lease with people who wanted to drive our trucks,” he says.
At Crafted Culture, Perry now owns a business where he strives to reach consumers and palates that the predominantly white and male beer industry has long ignored. Or as Perry puts it, he’s building “a fun house where the only rule is: No one else makes the rules but us.”
If some big-idea brews don’t work out, Perry says he isn’t bothered. “Failure is the sugar that made success sweet. I’ve always said that,” he insists. “If I fail, it only makes my next success even sweeter. There’s a lot of failures before Crafted Culture opened up, but I can’t stop smiling about this place. This place is sweet.”
Crafted Culture Brewing Co.
505 Morrison Road, Gahanna, 614-269-8920, craftedculturebrew.com