For The Culture Brewing Company and Ovinnik Brewing—a Black- and Latino-owned craft beer business and a woman-owned brewery, respectively—banded together to create local Timbergrove/Lazybrook brewpub Craft Culture X in October.

Jen Mathis, who founded Ovinnik with her husband, alongside Miguel Rodriguez and his team at For The Culture, agreed that their goals are influenced by diverse ownership and a unique foundation.
Ovinnik Brewing co-founder Jen Mathis and Miguel Rodriguez with For the Culture Brewing Company said they are excited to have a space to grow the craft beer community. (Asia Armour/Community Impact)
“We're trying to bring people in that are demographically, historically underserved by the craft beer industry by having a variety of styles,” Mathis said.

“What I believe is that we're growing the market, as opposed to recycling the market,” Rodriguez said. “I envision us as introducing people who normally would be hesitant ... to go to a craft brewery ... willing to try something [new].”

How we got here

Jen Mathis and her husband had been concocting their own beer at home for nine years before they first considered opening a craft brewery in 2018, Mathis said.

“There's something really satisfying about creating a recipe and then making it and having it taste like what you want,” she said. “There's so many variables in the ingredients and brewing process. Being able to successfully make a thing that's tangible and that you enjoy and other people enjoy, it's, no pun intended, intoxicating.”

Rodriguez’s professional background is in education. He’s taken time off from teaching fifth grade math to learn the science behind the brewing process and to open this business.

Rodriguez said beer has been around his whole life, with the adults in his family toasting with it at children's birthday parties. When his friends from high school told him they were starting a traveling craft beer company around 2017, he was eager to join, he said.
Mathis' favorite beer is a Kolsh, but the owners will help customers find their personal favorites. (Asia Armour/Community Impact)
It’s 5 o’clock somewhere

The co-op brewery owners take pride in providing multiple options and helping customers find what they like.

For The Culture developed a signature milk porter called Voodoo Kitty while the brewery was on the come up, Rodriguez said.

The flavor profile is sweet because of the lactose it's made with, Mathis said. It has a high alcohol content and a warm, spicy feel with a chocolatey taste and appearance.

Mathis said her favorite beer is a Kolsh, which is a German beer with a straw-yellow hue. This is what she and her husband began crafting at home back in 2009.
It takes hard work, passion and precision to craft different styles of beer, Rodriguez said. (Asia Armour/Community Impact)

Rodriguez, who had just rolled barrels of a session red ale into their cold room, said his favorite is always changing.

Rodriguez said a lot of care and hard work goes into crafting beer. He emphasized the joy he feels in creating a space where diverse groups of people can grow the craft beer community together.

“It's a spot that you can be in on it from the ground up,” Rodriguez said.