Alex Howell, a 2016 accounting alumnus and Maria Caldarise, a 2015 marketing alumna, met at Temple University during their junior year through mutual friends. The two bonded by exploring different breweries, trying new beers and observing how each company branded itself.
Howell and Caldarise opened their second location of Humble Parlor Brewing Co. on Jan. 14 in Fishtown located at Girard Avenue and Eyre Street, nearly a year after the grand opening of their first location in Kensington at Amber Street near Willard. Opening a second location has always been a dream for the two in order to continue sharing their passion for brewing with the community.
“I would say the biggest thing that sets us apart is, everything is small batch, hand-selected ingredients and high turnover,” Howell said. “So there’s always new beer coming out. And the good beers always going as well.”
During their success with their initial Kensington location, Howell and Caldarise noticed most of their customers were from Fishtown and South Philadelphia, and solidified their decision to open their second location in Fishtown.
Howell began brewing beers around seven years ago, and his interest in the craft beer industry grew. He wanted to create beers of his own that he could share and sell. From there, the idea behind the first location in Kensington was born.
While Howell has always had an eye for business and a passion for brewing beer since he turned 21, Caldarise provides the marketing expertise.
When formulating the company’s name, Howell and Caldarise came up with Humble Parlor, referring to what each of their grandparents called the living room. They identified the parlor as a space that provided comfort and socialization.
“That’s kind of the atmosphere we wanted to set up in our brewery and taproom, so in our original location in Kensington, it’s couches and coffee tables,” Howell said. “We treat [customers] like friends and family and that’s kind of what we intend to do in Fishtown as well, which is why it’s still just me and Maria.”
The two worked together on construction projects themselves shortly after receiving their keys in June, in hopes of creating the perfect environment for their Fishtown location, Howell said.
“There was a lot, so we kind of underestimated how long it would take us to do all that work,” Howell said. “And then on top of that we had to go through the Liquor Control Board, basically federal, state and local obstacles just to open our doors.”
Humble Parlor Brewing received positive feedback from family, friends and local customers. The support from the community was echoed throughout their soft openings on Jan. 12 and 13 and their grand opening.
“We had a super soft opening on Thursday, a soft opening on Friday for [customers,]” Howell said. “And then Saturday everyone, I swear, every other person that walked in said they lived right around the corner.”
Part of their popularity comes from the backstories behind the names of their beers. For example, their Mostly Oates NE IPA is named after John Oates, the famous Temple alumnus who is one-half of Hall & Oates, the famous pop rock duo.
Michael McCloskey, a risk management 1996 alumnus, works closely with Howell and Caldarise on Temple-related events, showcasing some of their beer and providing food for Humble Parlor Brewing.
Howell and Caldarise are both optimistic and are always open to his ideas, said McCloskey who owns Interstate Draft House which is located blocks from their Fishtown location.
“He has a good product. If you just position yourself the right way you’re gonna be fine,” McCloskey said “They’re not letting that go on them in any way.”
With their dedicated attitude and bright future, Howell and Caldarise are both looking forward to expanding their craft.
“I’m just excited that we’ll have a space of our own and working on the backyard and hopefully more opportunities to do events, because those are really fun,” Caldarise said.
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