Black-owned brewery: Gahanna's Crafted Culture blends craft beer, 'soul food'

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group
Anthony “Sizzle” Perry Jr. expects to open Crafted Culture Brewing Co. at 505 Morrison Road in Gahanna on Feb. 27.

When Anthony “Sizzle” Perry Jr. opens Crafted Culture Brewing Co. at 505 Morrison Road in Gahanna on Feb. 27, he will mix two of his passions. 

“We call it Crafted Culture because we’re blending two portions of my childhood into this one space,” he said. “You have the traditional family cookout I grew up in, with big Sunday dinners and the sense of community around food. 

“And the craft-beer world,” he said.

He said those are two different places, and he found himself stuck in the middle.

“I wanted to build a place for both,” Perry said. “We’re curating a melting pot for people to come and have comfort in a space where they can consume alcohol.”

The Worthington resident also has the distinction of founding what’s believed to be central Ohio's first Black-owned craft brewery.

Mary MacDonald, executive director of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, said she doesn’t know of any other Black-owned breweries in central Ohio.

“It’s not something that the OCBA formally tracks, but we do know most of the breweries and owners in Ohio,” said MacDonald, who has been with the association since 2013.

Perry said the community around food will come from a friend he grew up with, with a food truck on premises Saturdays and Sundays featuring "soul-food style."

The truck will have some of the classics, like barbecue, macaroni and cheese, greens and cornbread. 

Crafted Culture’s farmhouse ale will be produced by brewer Zac Baaske, an east Columbus resident who previously worked with Perry at another brewery.

“I’m feeling really good about it,” Baaske said. “I think we have a good team. ... I think we complement each other well.”

He said the brewery would cater to what people like.

“I’m excited to get some beer coming out of here,” Baaske said. “We’ll put our best foot forward with anything we do.”

Anthony “Sizzle” Perry Jr. raises a beer at Crafted Culture Brewing Co., 505 Morrison Road in Gahanna. The brewery is expected to open Feb. 27.

He said Ohio’s craft-beer brews and breweries are diverse. 

“We’ll try to do some stuff that pushes the edges of the style guidelines brewers look at,” Baaske said. “If it isn’t good, we won’t serve it.”

Perry said Farmhouse ale is light, easy drinking.

“We aren’t snobs,” he said. “The beauty of that system is it takes on different tastes.” 

He wants to try combinations that include honey and cinnamon, he said.

“A style that allows us to embody soul food,” Perry said. “Let’s do a Red Velvet beer – what happens when you put in salted caramel? I want to be creative like people have been in their kitchens for centuries.”

“I do want decadent things,” Perry said. “Farmhouse ale is like liquid soul food. I want to take coconut, candied pecans and vanilla wafers and put them in a beer. Even if you don’t like beer, the thought of tasting an experiment like that is inviting.”

He mentioned two others but didn't describe them.

"We will have our Bliggidy Black Milk Stout and our Culture Vulture IPA," he said.

He said he also has some cocktails up his sleeve to try out on the next rendition of the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Herbal Cocktail Trail. 

“Between that and my active imagination, I love decadent beers,” he said.

Perry said the business also has a concept to source local ingredients first.

More:Columbus' Camelot Cellars: Cultural rebrand features hip-hop, R&B, Southern comfort foods

He said he wants to make craft beer approachable and reasonably priced.  

“I think we’re tired of paying $8 for a pint of beer,” Perry said. “Our mission is to engage, educate and expand. We want to educate what’s good and expand where craft beer can go.”

Perry said his teammates are amazing at what they do.

“I function as the megaphone,” he said.

The 35-year-old said he had gone through most of his formal education in the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools but left Gahanna his senior year and graduated in 2003 from the Horizon Science Academy Columbus High School.

He still has family in the area, including his grandmother, Pat Lanier.

Perry served two tours in Afghanistan while serving in the U.S. Army.

“While I was in the Army, I was exposed to craft beverages overall,” he said.

Perry said he attended Ohio State University and finished his college career online, with a concentration in marketing and accounting from American InterContinental University in Illinois. 

He said the nickname Sizzle came while he was in college. 

“Anytime I was caught peacocking, it was a tagline that became a name,” Perry said. “People called me Hot Sizzle. (Later) I said they can call me Sizzle but drop hot. It’s a ridiculous tagline in college that never died.”  

For a while, Perry said, he managed an Ohio bar/restaurant and became very interested in craft beer. 

“When I got tired of restaurant life, I looked into breweries,” Perry said.

He paid his dues in the business, delivering beer, becoming a sales manager and managing a bar.

“I was still one of the only Black persons in the room when there was a craft-beer event,” Perry said. “I would search on Google. I saw stories of racism in the beer industry. I looked up how many Black breweries were in the U.S. Of 7,300 in the U.S., there was only 60 Black-owned.”

Crafted Culture is bigger than beer, he said.

“We also want to be a sounding board for minority-owned business that don’t get that light shined on them,” Perry said.

He said he also wants to create opportunity through support and promotion of equity and inclusion throughout the craft-beer industry.

MacDonald said other Black-owned breweries in Ohio include Alematic Artisan Ales in Huber Heights; Black Frog Brewery in Holland (near Toledo); Cincy Brewing Co. and Esoteric Brewing Co., both of Cincinnati; and Two Monks Brewing Co. of Akron.

Crafted Culture Brewing will be open 3 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays.

For updates, follow the business on Facebook at @CraftedCultureBrewingCompany and on Twitter @crafttheculture or go to its website: craftedculturebrew.com.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla