By Maia Demar for doubleXposure
A year ago, when you drove east on Cherry Street, in Seattle’s Central District, you’d pass by a broken-down, neglected building on the eastern corner of 27th and Cherry. The paint was peeling, the concrete yard in front had weeds growing up through its cracked surface, and the windows were dark and dusty year-round.
The building had looked like this for as long as I can remember, since 2011, when I used to walk by it on my way to elementary school. This year, though, as the Seattle sun began to shine its rays on a warmth-deprived city, so it did on this building. Freshly painted and inviting, with a sign in front stating “Métier Brewing Co.,” the building opened its doors to the public on June 4th, 2022, welcoming patrons with open arms.
Business partners Rodney Hines and Todd Herriot started Métier almost five years ago when they opened their original location in Woodinville in 2018. They looked at the craft-beer industry in which they had placed themselves and asked, “Who is in this industry? Who are we not seeing being represented?”, and set about changing the answer to that question.
Out of the 9,000-odd craft breweries across the United States, only about fifty are Black-owned. Twenty or so are owned by women. The goal of Métier is to expand the horizons of the craft beer community so that people from all demographics can see themselves reflected and welcomed in the world of craft beer. According to their website, MBC could stand for Métier Brewing Company, or it could stand for My Beloved Community, because that’s how the inside of the brewery is intended to feel.
Métier has stood out from other Washington breweries since the company was founded. Rejecting exclusivity, a common sentiment in local breweries, and embracing the “come one, come all” mindset, the main goal of Métier is to share the love of handcrafted beer with everyone, not just a certain demographic. With this attitude in mind, the Central District is the perfect location to open up shop.
Known in Seattle to be a predominantly Black neighborhood, the recent influx of tech workers and the drastically rising cost of living in the neighborhood has seemingly erased its rich history and obscured the cultural foundation on which so much of this area has been built. In just the past ten years, the Central District has become almost unrecognizable, with beautiful, big, old houses knocked down and replaced by places such as Uncle Ikes’, PCC, and Amazon Fresh. Although the neighborhood has been lacking in the vibrancy and Black cultural life that it once so famously fostered, the past couple of years have seen it slowly regaining the image of what it once was.
When I asked Métier CEO and co-founder Rodney Hines why they chose to open a new location in the Central District, he responded, “We wanted to be a part of the community in the CD that is there and growing. The neighborhood has witnessed a loss and re-emergence of Black businesses, and now we’re seeing businesses such as Communion, Catfish Corner, Fat’s, and the Central Cafe and Juice Bar re-entering the scene. There’s growth and pride of BIPOC businesses coming back to the Central District,”.
Hines went on to say that he’s, “attracted to the passion behind Africatown, [and] wanted to be a part of it. With places like Wa Na Wari and Arte Noir being situated right here, it feels like not to be here is to be absent from the culture and community,”.
According to Hines, “Construction [of the new location] took a little longer than anticipated. While we were working on it, we got to chat with neighbors and passers-by, and there was this anticipation for us to come into the neighborhood, an almost desperate excitement for us to open,”; residents of the CD know that places like Métier are completely necessary if we want to revitalize and continue respecting the BIPOC-dominated history of the neighborhood, and this brewery is recognized as another opportunity to do so.
“Our mission is to brew damn good beer and build a stronger community to inspire bigger dreams for all,” states Hines. Now with a foothold in one of Seattle’s historic Black neighborhoods, Métier and what it stands for have been embraced all the more. According to Hines, the neighborhoods that are anchored around the Central District (such as South Beacon Hill and Mount Baker) have embraced them as a business. Shortly after Métier opened, 23rd Ave Brewery opened up on South Jackson, opened by two brothers from CD. The emergence of different organizations coming in feels like a rebirth in the neighborhood. There’s a continued influx of BIPOC-owned businesses opening their doors, and Seattle is much happier because of it.
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ABOUT MAIA DEMAR
Maia Demar was born and raised in the Central District in Seattle, WA. After graduating from Garfield High School in 2020, and taking a gap year to explore her passions for writing and the arts, she is now studying photography at the Rhode Island School of Design. (Central District Article)
DoubleXposure and TeenTix Join Forces to Bring Twice the Impact for the Arts
In the second season of doubleXposure, we're partnering with our friends at TeenTix to engage young journalists to help us tell the stories of arts and community in the four cultural hubs we're spotlighting.
Throughout the season, we’ll be publishing articles written by four TeenTix writers; each focusing on one of the spotlight neighborhoods: Seattle Center, Seattle Waterfront, South Park, and the Central District.
Seattle’s TeenTix, is an organization with the mission of “empowering young people to take an active role in shaping their arts community, as audience members, critics, influencers, advocates, patrons, and leaders.”
Learn about TeenTix here