A Booming Baltimore

I wrote a news brief for this week’s JT about Union Craft Brewing’s forthcoming Union Collective — the brewery’s future home, where it will expand the brewery and house several other local businesses, including The Charmery, the Baltimore Whiskey Company and Earth Treks.

So, what’s the big deal about a brewery, ice cream shop, whiskey company and climbing gym opening up in the same space? Not only will this collective likely bolster all of the businesses, resulting in more jobs in Baltimore City, but this marks the coming together of businesses that are already working to build community and improve the city.

I can’t speak for the owners of Earth Treks and Baltimore Whiskey, but I have gotten to know the owners of Union Craft Brewing and The Charmery over the last few years, and I couldn’t emphasize how great it is that these businesses are coming together. Both businesses have long records of building, connecting and strengthening the community.

Not only have both engaged in charitable endeavors in their short time as businesses — Union celebrates five years this year; The Charmery celebrates four — but they also have given the Jewish community plenty of reasons to rally around them, from Union hosting Charm City Tribe’s annual Chanukah BrewHaha to The Charmery’s Jewish holiday-themed ice cream flavors.

As you’ll read in Justin Silberman’s cover story this week, Baltimore’s Jewish community may lose a beloved nonprofit that has also served as a meeting place and home away from home for many of the area’s artistically inclined residents. Due to a sale of its property falling through, Mount Washington-based Clayworks may buckle under the mound of more than $1 million of debt.

It’s an unfortunate turn of events for the 37-year-old organization, which has garnered much financial support from Jewish donors and foundations. Clayworks too has created a community and, in turn, affected the larger community for the better by serving as a hub for artists and the local art community.

The point is, Clayworks isn’t just a place to make art, Union isn’t just a brewery with tasty beer, and The Charmery isn’t just an ice cream shop with delicious ice cream. These organizations have woven themselves into the fabric of Baltimore and have improved the city in the process.

As a city resident, I applaud the great example the Union Collective family sets and the legacy Clayworks has established, and I hope to see more ideas like these continue to uplift our city.

mshapiro@midatlanticmedia.com

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