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A Better Bakery in Bethel

Rhythm Brewing

The first Black, woman-owned brewing company in the state
Alisa Bowens-Mercado, Owner of Rhythm Brewing
Meet Alisa Bowens-Mercado

Owner, Rhythm Brewing

The Backstory

New Haven-based Rhythm Brewing Company was founded in 2017 by Alisa Bowens-Mercado, a well-known Salsa dance instructor and owner of Alisa’s House of Salsa. The studio recently celebrated two decades of bringing the love of the popular Latin dance to students young and old throughout central Connecticut and beyond.

In search of new challenges, Alisa set her sights on the craft lager market. In doing so, she founded the first Black, woman-owned brewing company in the state - and the fourth in the country.

She was motivated, she has said in interviews, by a lack of black representation and economic participation in the billion-dollar beer industry.

Rhythm crafts three signature brews: Rhythm Red, Rhythm Blue, and Alisa's Birthday Girl Magic Vanilla Porter. The lager is available in stores, bars, restaurants and bistros across Connecticut; and has been featured in the official music video for the song “BGM” by Wale.


How Women's Business Development Council Helped

With her sights now set on national distribution, Alisa celebrated a victory this summer when she partnered with Boston Beer Company’s Samuel Adams Taproom to collaborate on a sparkling lager, which she and the taproom’s head brewer, Megan Parisi, named Up Tempo. Then in July, she was honored by The New Haven Museum, to which she donated a collection of dancing and brewing memorabilia.

“The EMG award was certainly a ‘business blessing,” Alisa said. “The grant allowed us to engage with new and existing customers through marketing and social media campaigns. We also were able to extend the Rhythm product line by introducing a new recipe.”

“The EMG allowed our business to grow in the midst of adversity. It was also reassuring to know the WBDC was invested in the small, women-owned business community.”


Find Out More About Rhythm Brewing