Food and drink / Philadelphia / Science

Philly’s first Black-owned brewery is setting up shop at uCity Square next year

Real estate developer Wexford Science and Technology said it's aiming to bring local food and drinks to the growing population working in the neighborhood's life sciences sector.

The future home of Two Locals Brewing Co. (Rendering courtesy of Wexford Sciences and Technology)
While the mixed-use buildings of uCity Square in University City are known for their life sciences labs, coworking spaces and university affiliations, in 2023, the development will also be home to Philadelphia’s first Black-owned brewery.

Real estate developer Wexford Science and Technology announced this week that a 6,000-square-foot retail space on the ground floor of 3675 Market St. will soon welcome Two Locals Brewing Co., a West Philly-based brewery founded by brothers Richard Koilor and Mengistu Koilor.

Two Locals began in 2016 with the Koilor brothers brewing one-gallon batches of beer with a home brewing kit. Today, the brews can be found at local taverns as well as chains like City Tap House and at Lincoln Financial Field. The opening date for their first dedicated space is slated for summer 2023.

Pete Cramer, Wexford’s VP and market executive, told that while the developer is usually focused on building space for life sciences companies, its tenants and neighbors have expressed that they want “high quality” retail and food operators in the area, as well as places to grab a beer or lunch.

The building at 3675 Market St. opened in 2018, and within a few months was 90% leased. It’s home to a lot of companies, organizations and university-related entities, including the University City Science Center, CIC Philly, Quorum, Drexel University’s College of Computing & Informatics, Carisma Therapeutics plus maybe 100 more smaller companies and startups call the building home, Cramer said.

The ground floor space was always meant to go to a food operator of some sort, per the VP. Though Wexford hadn’t worked with any Philadelphia breweries before, the developer had some experience with other projects across the country that informed this space.

“It’s somewhat of an experiment putting this use in a mixed-use lab space, but we thought it was worth taking a shot,” Cramer said. “We hope this will help us attract more local food and beverage places. We’re working on four new buildings just north of there, and what we’re doing with Two Locals, we hope we create a sort of center of gravity.”

Mengistu Koilor was born in Liberia and came to Philadelphia at 7 years old, and Richard was born shortly after. They grew up in West Philadelphia, and were aiming to build their first physical space near their neighborhood. The pair plan on letting the space serve as a focal point for community initiatives like school supply drives, apprenticeship programs and events.

The Two Locals menu, once open, will include bar classics and a Liberian dish each week that can be paired with a range of the brewery’s stouts, IPAs, lagers and fruited tart ales. They’ll also be collaborating with local breweries to create featured beers and will offer Pennsylvania-made cider, wine and liquor.

“We will be in West Philly, close to where we grew up, have a highly visible location that will allow people to enjoy our beer and our culture,” Richard Koilor said in a statement. “And we plan to give back to the community in any way that we’re able.”

Companies: Drexel University / University City Science Center

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