Beny Ashburn and Teo Hunter originally met on Tinder several years ago, but ultimately realized the universe brought them together to build their business. Crowns & Hops Brewing Company was established in 2016 in Inglewood, California.

Ashburn, CEO and co-founder, says Hunter, head of brewing operations and co-founder, introduced her to craft beer and had a real understanding after stepping into an actual brewery and seeing family and community.

Hunter started his journey early on working in a craft brewery starting as a cellar person, milling grain at 5 a.m. to working in a taproom. Hunter says his experience helped both founders understand the process of not only making beer but presenting it as well.

“Raising capital is probably one of the largest obstacles as a Black entrepreneur,” the head of brewing operations says. Ashburn says having a brick-and-mortar is extremely important. It allows you that physical opportunity to connect with your community.

Crowns & Hops was the first Black-owned beer brand to be sold at a Super Bowl and at Disneyland. Time magazine cited them as “Changing the Face of Beer.”

When people try a Crowns & Hops beer, Ashburn wants them to feel like home. “We want them to feel like they are part of this brand, of this family…and they’re a part of something that’s bigger than just the product,” the CEO says.

Watch the full interview with Beny Ashburn and Teo Hunter above.

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