Community First: The Work Of Urban Chestnut Brewing Company In St. Louis

Brewing craft beer has successfully managed the transformation from a movement into a way of life. At Urban Chestnut Brewing Company (UCBC), this kind of transformation has not only led to producing great beer, but also to maintaining a positive impact in the local community. Ashley Troutman, UCBC’s business and marketing operations manager, has watched the brewery’s growth firsthand. The company’s sustained effort to make St. Louis a better place is starting to turn heads—and neighborhoods.

“We have three breweries in St. Louis now. The co-founders have made sure to maximize our contribution to the city as much as possible, starting with purchasing and renovating existing buildings,” Troutman says. In that spirit, UCBC’s first location in Midtown was formerly a garage from the 1920s which the company rehabbed, while their second location in The Grove was a shuttered paper company that had been vacant for years. “We’re definitely trying to use what’s already here, which is part of our commitment to sustainability. We’re looking to produce beer as sustainably as possible and contribute to the community.”

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This commitment to bolstering St. Louis’ neighborhoods is a family affair in the business, as UCBC staff are active in helping promote the company’s efforts. “A lot of our employees live in the city and are passionate about it. They’re really dedicated to seeing it grow and supporting it any way they can,” says Troutman. Even customers are encouraged to be a part of the mission, simply by doing what they love: drinking beer. “Every Tuesday, we have our ‘Steins for Support’ event, where we highlight a particular organization each week. Customers can go to our Midtown location, drink beer, and a portion of proceeds go to that organization.” In spring, UCBC will host Dog Day events, where customers can bring their pets to the outdoor lot in The Grove. Music, beer and brats will be sold, and proceeds will benefit an animal rescue organization.

Further, UCBC also donates their products to help promote local nonprofits and activist causes. “We donate a lot of beer to non-profit agencies in St. Louis, as much as we can to as many as we can,” Troutman says. “We try to support organizations that share similar goals as ours. We’ve donated to schools, environmental causes, medical-based organizations and more.” The list of partners can be found under the Urban Efforts section of their website.

Though beer can powerfully unite people, Troutman believes that craft-beer culture unites the community at large more than anything. “It’s an especially communal thing, just by itself. People love to go out and drink with friends, and having that really helps us to bring people together. When we donate our products to organizations that can use our help, it helps everyone here.” She has also developed admiration for the supportive nature of the brewery owners that has grown organically in St. Louis, from the community and from each other. “All of the breweries are very supportive of each other and share this same goal of giving back to St. Louis any way they can,” she says. “We’re really working hard to make St. Louis a craft beer capital and making it attractive for everyone.”

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