The Unique Business Idea My Local Brew Works Created

Offering unique experiences for people who are looking to have a say in the brewing process, finding a way to brew with friends, or even being a corporate team-building exercise, My Local Brew Works is carving out its own niche in Philadelphia.

Founded by Wayne Humphrey and Tim Montague during the pandemic, MLBW works at creating white-label beer brands on a small scale, be that for contracting, brewing one-offs for a special event, or working directly with the public.

“Tim and I started homebrewing in our backyards,” explained Humphrey. “We would invite friends to our brew days and noticed how much fun they had just by participating in the process. Then we accidentally committed ourselves to donating two different beers, for two separate non-profits, for the same weekend.

“We did what we promised and saw immediate value in tailoring all aspects of a beer to a particular event or cause.”

MLBW recently launched a new Bespoke Brewing Package. The brewery was recently featured in Rock N Roll Bride for custom brewing a beer for a glam rock Philadelphia wedding earlier this year, where the couples’ custom Australian Sparkling Ale dubbed “TCB,” an homage to the Aussie bride and their Elvis officiant, was featured on the beverage menu and given out as party favors.

MLBW has worked to help create special releases like a Black IPA for an artist’s show opening and a coffee Breakfast Stout with Fox29’s “The 215,” both of which were developed in line with the personal tastes and preferences of the clients.

“The vast majority of beer we brew is bespoke,” Humphrey said. “That is we will probably never brew a batch with the same style and ingredients again.”

They do have a signature beer called “The Philly Phinger” — a mashup of Kolsch, Sticke Altbier, and West Coast Blonde Ale that has been generously hopped with a blend of German and American Hops.

“It blew up a bit recently when the Phillies were in the World Series,” Humphrey said. “We haven’t adjusted the recipe much since we first developed it, but I swear it tastes better with every batch.”

Finding a niche and creating a business like this is something Humphrey said is akin to the fashion industry.

“Macro breweries are like department stores: always in stock with easy and fast access to all you need, but no real detail or originality,” he said. “Microbreweries are like a boutique shop: smaller, higher quality goods, curated to a specific style or demographic of a client with limited stock/availability.

“Then there is My Local Brew Works. We are the custom tailor or seamstress; our beers are one of a kind and completely designed to fit your needs and style. We are not for every occasion, but perfect for a special one. Our products will set you apart from the rest. We consult you to make every detail to your exact specifications.”

 There are very specific challenges to doing something for the first time, he pointed out when asked about creating a business plan in a market where no one was doing such a thing.

“You can’t learn from other’s mistakes,” Humphrey said. “We thought the best way was to start as small as our process design would allow us to.”

George Hummel, and his partner Nancy Rigberg, have been mentors and friends for over a decade that have helped in recipe creation and consulting.

“Having someone we could trust that also had faith in our skill was key,” Humphrey said. “They both taught us how to embrace the ‘New Kids on the Block’ status as a way to establish great connections in the industry and gave us street cred from Day 1.

“His vast knowledge of homebrewing helped us design a grain room that could support any request walking through our door. We could make thousands of different recipes with the variety we have in those walls.”

Photo Credit: Amit Gabai Photography

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