We had the good fortune of connecting with Harsha Maragh and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Harsha, how does your business help the community?
Wah Gwaan Brewing Company is a Jamaican inspired brewery in the Santa Fe Arts District. We first decided to open our brewery to increase diversity within the brewing industry and to create a “home away from home” for Caribbean-Americans.

Since opening, we have created a vibrant space for other women and minority small business owners to share their work and creations with the local community. We have partnered with several craft artisans who have used our taproom as a pop up space to sell their goods. We work with a local CSA non-profit organization to serve as a weekly produce pick up location where folks can have access to fresh fruits and vegetables in a food scarce neighborhood. We collaborate with our immediate neighboring businesses in the district for various needs including screen-printing for our merchandise and coffee for our beers.

One of the biggest social impacts we’ve had so far is the space we have created for Caribbean-Americans, Caribbean immigrants and other first generation West Indians. There are few businesses that are focused around the Caribbean population in Denver. We wanted Wah Gwaan to be a hub for those who were missing their islands and wanted a piece of that in Colorado. We frequently host Jamaican DJs and food trucks that help to incorporate that diverse cultural element to Denver. We have had multiple Jamaicans (and others) from all over the country come to visit Wah Gwaan and have expressed their awe, love and admiration for the brewery — and that impact makes it all worth it.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Wah Gwaan is more than just a brewery, it’s a brand and a community. Getting to the place we are today was not an easy feat. My husband, Jesse, and I started homebrewing a few years ago as a hobby but during the pandemic lockdowns of 2020, we decided that it was time to pursue a dream of opening a business together. We spent much of our free time researching, networking, reaching out to other breweries and planning.

Challenges arose at what seemed like every turn, but we were dedicated to our overall vision of creating a space for the Caribbean community and increasing diversity in the brewing industry. We stuck to our daily and weekly goals in order to keep on track and sought advice from other start up businesses.

We are proud of the reception that we have gotten thus far from our family, friends, peers and patrons. It is heartwarming to know that we have only recently opened, but we are already making a positive impact in the brewing world and are inspiring others to pursue their small business dreams.

Starting a business is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work, commitment, follow through, critical thinking and creativity. What we learned is that we had these skills all along, but it took a challenge (like opening a business) to really hone them. Our biggest lesson learned is that you can’t do anything on your own. Having a great partner/team and support system to back you up is everything.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For a weeklong trip, these are the spots I’d recommend:

– walk through RiNo to see the beautiful murals, sip on cocktails at Death and Co. and dinner at Uchi

– visit the art galleries along Santa Fe Drive and stop for tacos at El Taco de Mexico

– take a walk around Sloans Lake and visit the many shops/breweries/eateries in Edgewater

– grab something to eat at Stanley Marketplace and browse the shops, then head to Lady Justice Brewing for beers

-visit Denver Art Museum and sit down for an authentic Jamaican dinner at Penthouse Restaurant on the 16th St. Mall

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We would love to shout out Laura Bruns from Factotum Brewhouse. We knew Laura for a couple years prior to opening our brewery, and in that time she has shown us nothing but kind words and love. She gave us much needed advice when we were in our planning phases and has never failed to show up for us since then.

Website: wahgwaanbrewingco.com

Instagram: @wahgwaanbrewingco

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.