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Black history on tap in Kansas City's east side at 1st Black-owned brewery in Missouri

Missouri's first black-owned brewery makes history
Posted at 5:48 AM, Feb 28, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Vine Street Brewing opened in June 2023 on South Vine Street, making them a part of the less than 1% of Black-owned breweries in America according to the National Black Brewers Association.

On tap at Vine Street Brewing, you'll find beers named with creativity and culture in mind, like That Box Fade, Afrodisiac or Hood Saison.

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Co-founders Kemet Coleman, Wood Bonds and Elliot Ivory didn't know when they came together to brew that they would be the first and only Black-owned brewery in Missouri.

“If you're the only person in that space, it's important to do right so that way, it can definitely pave the way for others that look like you or that don't look like you, just others that want to be in this space," Bonds said.

'This space' that Bonds refers to is the brewing industry. The history of Black brewing is somewhat recent in American history. Theodore Mack became the first African American to own a brewery in 1970. In the 1800s, slaves and indentured servants still played a part in the brewing process by picking hops for beer.

Today, Coleman said the industry welcomes them.

“Especially here in Kansas City, they have given us open arms. You know, we collaborated with almost 30 breweries before we opened. They didn't have to do that. They didn't have to bring us into their brew houses," Coleman said.

Vine Street's brew house sits in the historic 18th and Vine district. They draw jazz and African American influences into their brews, finding flavors that make a great beer marriage, as Bonds would say.

Nothing is watered down about their beer or the culture they proudly display.

"There needs to be more representation. We hope that we can help guide that light," Coleman said.

They hope the conversations shared over an ale are poured back into their community.

"Creating conversations, creating these kinds of creative collisions that result in innovation, result in love and resolving, you know, all the things that our community needs," Coleman said.

Vine Street Brewing is located at 2010 Vine Street. You can find business hours and the beer list on the website.