There is no denying that Thomas Sheridan and Benjamin Bedard have a passion for all things hoppy, bubbly and malty.
The two buzz around their Westmoreland Street brewery with great excitement as they discuss their flagship brew, Benjamin Franklin United Ale, a cream ale with hints of blood orange.
Sheridan, a lifetime Port Richmond resident, nearly froths over with excitement himself at the prospect of a forthcoming Hefeweizen infused with balsamic vinegar from the region in Italy where some of his relatives live.
Bedard rattles off facts about how many breweries there are in the U.S. and which ones make the best India Pale Ale. He reminisces about falling in love with Blue Moon’s brews.
Simply put, Sheridan and Bedard are beer guys. More noticeably though, they’re good guys.
“Our common ground was really philanthropy,” Bedard said Thursday when Star visited the Do Good Brewing Company, based in a warehouse at 2120 E. Westmoreland St. “We both had charities close to our heart.”
A percentage of Do Good’s proceeds will go to a variety of causes Sheridan and Bedard have determined. Each beer will be essentially “matched” to a cause, and the two will determine at points throughout the year which charity tied to that cause will receive a cut of the proceeds.
Their first beer, the Benjamin Franklin United Ale, is tied to pediatric cancer. They’ll also roll out three other “core” beers each year that are connected to autism, breast cancer and epilepsy. Bedard’s wife has epilepsy, and Sheridan’s neighbor and nephew both have autism.
Right now, the two are producing small 10-gallon batches of beer while they wait for large-scale equipment to come in. They hope, Sheridan said, to be fully operational and distributing beer by January.
Anyone can, however, visit the brewery to check it out and sample beers any time the guys are there. All you have to do is follow the brewery’s Facebook page, facebook.com/dogoodbrewing. The two will post when they’ll be in the warehouse working or hanging out.
Sheridan, 24, and Bedard, 33, met through their association with the Freemasons in the city about three years ago.
The two had their first meeting about starting a brewery about six months ago, and dedicated themselves fiercely to the venture ever since. Do Good is now a fully licensed manufacturer brewery. The idea sprung from the fact, they said, that they both love beer, and had dabbled in home brewing for some time.
Eventually, the two said they hope to have a brewpub in the same space as the brewery.
For the first six months of operation, Sheridan said, the two will brew on weekends. They hope to start selling beer to bars around Port Richmond and the rest of the city, and if they expand enough, they’ll employ a trained brewer as well. Currenly, Sheridan owns the Port Richmond-based Brainsick Media web development company, and Bedard is an engineer.
The two said the goal of the brewery is to be unique in their business philosophy and the beers they produce.
“If the beers aren’t good, I might as well set my hair on fire,” Bedard said. “We didn’t want to make what everyone else is making. If we try to be like the big-time breweries, they’ll eat our lunch.”
“We really looked at what the market is flooded with,” Sheridan said. “Everyone is making an IPA, everyone is making something Belgian…there’s nothing special about some of the local brews. We want something good and different. We want every beer to have meaning to it.”
In Port Richmond, Sheridan said, hardly any bars carry unique craft brews. People know how the craft brewery scene is growing, though, and he said there is definitely a market there.
“Craft brewing is growing, and it can grow here,” Bedard said.
“I have no illusions of being the next Sam Adams,” Bedard continued. “But maybe the next Victory, the next Tröegs. It’s going to be real when I walk into a bar and see this beer on tap.”
Sheridan said he’s just chomping at the bit to sell his beer.
“I’m passionate about negotiation, I can’t wait to sell,” he said. “I want to see a signature on that receipt.”
Sheridan said he’d like to approach Barcade in Fishtown to try to have the bar sell a small run of their beer.
“People are looking for the hot new thing on the menu [there],” he said.
But he got excited about the prospect of Byrne’s Tavern on Richmond Street flying a banner outside with Do Good’s name on it. He said he’d also like to approach the Bridesburg Pub and the Kensington Pub.
“My childhood home was three blocks away,” Sheridan said. “I love being in this neighborhood. Part of our plan is to be intertwined with the community. We want people to know that Port Richmond has its own brewery now.” ••