Brothers Richard and Mengistu Koilor are set to open Philadelphia’s first Black-owned brewery.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the brothers began brewing beer in 2016, using a one-gallon home-brew kit to create an Irish red ale. The duo took their first efforts to Mengistu’s backyard and then moved to Richard’s kitchen.

“The beer came out pretty good,” Richard said, according to the outlet.

To further their experience, they took part in the Philadelphia Homebrew Club, a resource for those interesting in brewing beer, its Facebook page mentions. The Koilors’ interest in pursuing the brewing venture was also because they observed a lack of representation in the space.

“At the time, we were looking at the breweries in Philly and didn’t see Philly truly represented,” Richard explained to Philadelphia magazine. “We are born and raised here. We are literally two local guys brewing beer in the city that made them who they are.”

In 2020, Two Locals Brewing Co. was formed, while Richard and Mengistu maintained their full-time jobs. Their first release was the Nubian brown ale, which had previously won a silver medal at the Philadelphia Homebrew Club Winter’s Warmers event in 2019, followed up with wheat beer “Who You Wit?,” per Philadelphia magazine.

The business operated as a nomadic brewery from Mainstay Independent in Northern Liberties, with plans to eventually open their own brewery. However, acquiring funding had been difficult, which the founders say was due to timing, since they launched during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s been tough for us to find financial support through loans,” Mengistu explained, per The Philadelphia Inquirer. “It could be because of the time and the effect COVID has had. There is a higher risk for start-up businesses. And from hearing other stories, we also think our race plays a role in us getting approved for the loan we need.”

Despite the challenges of acquiring funding, the founders appear to be on track to open Philadelphia’s first Black-owned brewery at uCity Square, Eater Philadelphia reports.

The projected opening is set for January 2024. Working out of the new space, they will continue to support efforts to combat racial and social injustice. Additionally, the founders plan to help those in the community looking to obtain beer certifications or degrees, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“We hope that other Black-owned breweries join us and aren’t far behind,” Richard expressed to the outlet. “We would love to see our story inspire others and add to the diversity of our beer community.”