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Denizens Brewing Co. Is Constructing a Second Inclusive Taproom in Maryland

The woman- and minority-owned company wants to cater to more than bearded IPA drinkers in Riverdale Park

A variety of Denizens beers meant to appeal to diverse tastes will soon appear outside of Hyattsville.
Denizens Brewing Company/Facebook

Four years after launching its two-story beer garden in Silver Spring, Md., Denizens Beer Co. is building a second sprawling space in the Riverdale Park Station development near Hyattsville.

In a Q&A published online Wednesday, October 11, CEO and co-owner Emily Bruno told the Hyattsville Wire that the company recently broke ground on a 12,000-square-foot property (4550 Van Buren Street) in Riverdale Park, which sits between a hub for young families in Hyattsville and a hotbed of thirsty students at the University of Maryland College Park. Bruno says the property is expected to open in “early spring 2019,” but no firm date has been set.

Washingtonian reported in April that Denizens planned to have a production facility and adjoining taproom ready to roll out by the end of the year, indicating a delay in construction.

Bruno’s wife, chief brand officer Julie Verratti, and chief beer officer Jeff Ramirez are the other two co-owners. Along with Bruno, they make up what they say is the only majority woman- and minority-owned brewery in Maryland. That gives them a different perspective on the industry, Bruno says.

“Denizens thinks critically about ensuring we are serving and marketing to everyone — not just white guys with beards who are obsessed with IPAs — and our taproom in Silver Spring reflects that,” Bruno told the local publication. “On any given evening you can see folks from every socioeconomic background and age range enjoying the beer garden or taproom, and that’s the thing I love best about our brand.”

A commitment to serving a wide range of beers — like the Mexican-style Bueno Onda Vienna lager that the Silver Spring location rolled out this month, according to the Denizens website — may help the second location stand out from its closest competitor. A Burtons Grill & Bar is across the street from the Denizens site, and the website for that chain’s outpost advertises three hop-heavy brews on the menu: Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin, Terrapin Hopsecutioner IPA, and Stone IPA. Vying for business with Hyattsville’s long-running Franklin’s Restaurant, Brewery, and General Store will also be a challenge.

In the same interview, Bruno said that the mixed-use development approached Denizens about considering Riverdale Park Station for future expansion. Upon opening, the brewery hopes to be a resource for the local community like it has been in Silver Spring.

In the next few weeks, Denizens plans to host a monthly meeting for the local hand lettering society, a record fair, and an election meet-and-greet with candidates organized in conjunction with nonprofit group Montgomery Women. (Verratti ran as a candidate for lieutenant governor to Alec Ross, one of several candidates beat out by Ben Jealous for the Maryland Democratic gubernatorial nomination this June.)

D.C.’s craft beer scene is also on the rise, with Red Bear projected to debut its under-construction brewery in NoMa next year.