A Charles County FeBREWary Feature

Posted by: Economic Development Team on Thursday, February 11, 2021

February is Maryland Craft Beer Lovers Month. It’s also Black History Month. Put those two together, and it seems like the perfect time to feature Charles County’s first brewery and the maker of Charles County’s first official beer—Patuxent Brewing Company.

Founder Davie Feaster began brewing beer at his house in 2014, started selling it at the La Plata Farmers Market, and in August 2019, opened the doors to Patuxent Brewing Company in Waldorf. Today, with a team of five, they’ve put Charles County on the craft brewery map and inspire black youths and others to dream big.

Getting Started

Getting started, Feaster reached out to Ryan Vierheller, founder of Blue Dyer Distilling Co., the county’s first distillery. Vierheller’s business was the first of its kind in Charles County, and he helped Feaster navigate the maze of necessary approvals.  “We definitely had our peaks and valleys,” said Eugene Lott, Co-owner and Taproom Manager, “but we eventually saw through it.  It was the education more than anything —explaining what we are and what we’re doing. Martin Proulx [Economic Development’s Agriculture Business Development Manager] was instrumental. He definitely helped us out a lot and was one of those who helped us educate others.”

COVID-19 Pandemic

Once they were open, Lott says business took off. Then in March, COVID-19 struck. “We were getting ready for our first distribution, and when COVID came, we were sitting on a bunch of beer and we couldn’t open up the tap room,” said Lott. “We pivoted our business model and created a ‘cans to go’ drive-through.” They also distributed their beer to locations outside Charles County, expanding their reach, and used social media a lot more to advertise. With changes, Lott says, “we actually thrived better than we anticipated during COVID.” They plan to reopen the tap room on February 19.

Giving Back

Patuxent Brewing gives local farms the spent grains left over from brewing, and the farmers use them to make pet treats and animal feed. Tranice Watts, Co-owner and Business Manager, said, “Martin really helped us connect immediately to the farms and the ag scene here so we could partner and help each other out.” They’ve found a way to help the environment and small businesses, such as local farms, by cutting an expense for them.

The business also gives back to the community through programs like Toys for Tots and food drives, and they partner with the NAACP and the S. T. Kendall Lodge. They’ve also started a podcast, Mash UP with PBC, a platform where entrepreneurs can talk about their work.

Inspiring Black Youth and Others to Dream Big

“We are 100% black owned,” said Watts, “but when you come here, when you see the awesome patrons, they’re not just black people. We don’t want you to drink our beer because we’re black; we want you to drink our beer because it’s delicious. Our shared experiences are not defined by our skin tone. We’ve marketed ourselves as not just a black-owned company, but a company that understands the shared experiences that we all have.”

Watts’ advice for youth and entrepreneurs is: Do the research. Don’t give up. “Once you decide on your dreams and goals, execute on it,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Put yourself out there and ask the hard questions.”

She also recommends attending one of Charles County Economic Development’s Business Roundtables and working with the EDD and Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to make connections and access the information entrepreneurs need.

For more information on how the EDD can help your small business, check our Business Support page. Look for an announcement in late February on the Patuxent Brewing Company website or Explore Charles County regarding Charles County’s first official beer.

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“Charles County is a great central location for us to have access to all of our customers. We do business with NSWC Carderock, Naval Research Laboratory, NAWCAD Patuxent River, NSWC Dahlgren, and Indian Head Naval Support Facility, to name a few.”

Scott Decker
Director of Operations

Cardinal Scientific

“We are proud to be a key part of Charles County’s future and we heartily encourage other, cutting-edge companies to join us.”

Doug Egan
Chief Executive Officer
Competitive Power Ventures

“Charles County is where we started our company and where we grew and expanded. We now operate our managed print and managed IT solutions in five states and provide custom apps all around the globe. Our headquarters is still in Charles County, an excellent place to conduct business and recruit highly skilled individuals for our ever growing team!"

Joshua Justice
President

Just Tech

 

“We are proud to be a key part of Charles County’s future and we heartily encourage other, cutting-edge companies to join us.”

Katharine Tate
 Executive Director of Provider Engagement and Community Relations

Righttime Medical Care

“Charles County is a great place for businesses to start, grow, and thrive! We've worked with over 100 businesses since we opened our doors in Charles County, and I've witnessed the majority of these businesses achieve all three.”

Darlene M. Breck

Owner

Southern Maryland Business Center

“Charles County is a great place to do business because of the passion of the business community and the residents who strive to make it the best that it can be."

Andrew W. Welburn

President

The Welburn Organization