News 12

June 17, 2021

Montclair Brewery plans several events to commemorate Juneteenth

Some local New Jersey businesses will be celebrating the day and using this moment in history as a teachable one.
Denise Ford Sawadogo co-owns the Montclair Brewery in Montclair with her husband. And while one may not equate beer with learning about history or the strife of disenfranchised groups, the brewery finds ways to incorporate African American experiences within its walls.


February 26, 2021

New Jersey brewery honors Black history month with special beer series

Since 2018, New Jersey's Montclair Brewery has distinguished itself by brewing beer that honors the Black culture and the West African and Jamaican roots of its owners, Leo and Denise Sawadogo.

"It's a dream every single day to see everybody sitting here drinking beer that I made. It's just mind-boggling to me," said Leo Sawadogo.

Washington Post

November 2020

Rebuilding with a Better Connection

Montclair Brewery is one of those places where people go to meet their neighbors. Started in 2018 by Denise Ford Sawadogo and Leopold Sawadogo, a wife and husband team, the New Jersey-based microbrewery quickly become a popular spot in the community. Each night, people would pack in close to the bar to sip bespoke ales and just be together. Then the pandemic hit. Early public health guidelines forced the brewery to close its tasting room, which threatened to push the business to the brink of collapse. But Montclair Brewery adapted—first pivoting to a bottling operation and later, when shelter-in-place restrictions were relaxed, an outdoor beer garden. The business used digital technology to pull off these pivots.

Montclair Brewery

October 31, 2020

Montclair Brewery Hosts Halloween Market and Movie Nights

Montclair Brewery is set to host a Halloween Weekend event from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 at 101 Walnut Street in Montclair. The weekend will consist of live music, a Halloween Market, movie night, Day of the Dead Celebration and some new fall brews.

NJ Digest

October 13, 2020

2020 Guide: 15 Top Breweries in New Jersey to Visit This Fall

A husband and wife-owned business, Montclair Brewery recently celebrated two years of business in the community. Montclair Brewery offers a range of styles for different tastes, from the Spicy Pineapple Belgian Ale to the Black Mamba Lager. The Black Mamba Lager, one of the brewery’s latest releases, is brewed with dark malts, mimicking the look of a porter or stout but giving it a lighter body. Guests can enjoy their drinks in the beer garden, with live music events through Oct. 18 in honor of the brewery’s anniversary.

Montclair Brewery outdoor seating is first-come, serve. Parties of five or more can make reservations.

Craft Beer Professionals 

October 07, 2020

Women in Craft Beer: Panel Conversation

Denise Ford Sawadogo, co-owner of Montclair Brewery joins Craft Beer Professionals panel, along with four others, to discuss diversity and inclusion in the craft beer industry. Denise discusses her role at Montclair Brewery and details her passion of marketing the beers and interacting with customers. The group dives into the importance of visibility of women in a traditionally male-driven industry.

Hank Zona

September 23, 2020

"Hank Zona and The Grapes Unwrapped" Discusses Montclair Brewery Sorghum beer and the books of Scholastique Mukasonga

Hank Zona and guest Valerie take a look into the history and origins of Sorghum, while enjoying and reviewing Montclair Brewery's own Sorghum beer, The Motherland, and discussing the books of Scholastique Mukasonga. They dive into the West African and Caribbean roots of owners, Leo Sawadogo and Denise-Ford Sawadogo. They also discuss the brewery’s Black is Beautiful Stout made with Baobab, which they describe as “amazing and delicious”.  

Small Business Live

July 23, 2020

Small Business Live Business Spotlight

When millions of small businesses were forced to close due to COVID-19,  Small Business Live was created in just 5 weeks. Small Business Live is a one-day musical experience to raise money for the small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19, with a focus on those run by women and people of color.

NJ Monthly

June 24, 2020

Jersey Brewers Band Together for “Black is Beautiful” Beer Collaboration

With nearly 900 participating breweries, the collaborative effort aims to raise awareness for the injustices people of color face daily. Denise Ford Sawadogo of Montclair Brewery explains the beer's importance.

New Jersey News 12

June 12, 2020

Montclair Brewery to offer outdoor space for beer lovers

The owners of the Montclair Brewery are doing what they can to offer outdoor areas so that they can reopen for business.The brewery will use the front of the building as a paved patio area, and the owners say they want to convert the parking lot into an outdoor space as well.

ZX Ventures: October 

March 06, 2020

Leo Sawadogo Is the Most Interesting Brewer You’ve Never Heard Of

Burkina Faso, West Africa is probably not the first place that comes to your mind when you think of craft beer destinations, but that is where Leo Sawadogo’s story begins. The co-owner and brewmaster of northern New Jersey-based Montclair Brewery is the epitome of a Renaissance man—a 22-year brewing veteran whose past lives include being a professional soccer player, pastry chef, radio personality, and journalist.

February 24, 2020

Montclair Brewery Honors Larry Doby as Part of Black History Month

Montclair Brewery releases Doby Major Leagues Caramel Pale Ale, the newest Black History Month series craft beer in honor of former Negro Leagues and American Leagues baseball player, Larry Doby on Friday February 21, 2020. Doby was the 2nd player to break baseball’s color barrier and the first player of color in the American League. 

News 12

February 14, 2020

Cheers! Montclair Brewery creates beers to commemorate Black History Month

February is a time to honor those who changed the world by fighting for equal rights for the black community. And Montclair Brewery is doing its part to honor those who fought for equal rights.

“People are coming in specifically asking for the Black History Month beer,” says co-owner Denise Ford-Sawadogo.

Spotify: InebriNation

February 12, 2020

Montclair Brewery is featured on "InebriNation" Podcast

Inebrination talks to Howard from Mega Bite Events  to learn about two beer fests that were coming up, and discuss Montclair Brewery being at the beer festivals.

Best of Essex

December 2, 2019

Montclair Brewery Wins Gold in Best of Essex for Best Brewery/Distillery

Montclair Brewery has won the Gold Medal for Best Brewery/Distillery in the Suburban Essex Best of Essex 2019 Readers' Choice Awards contest.

October 09, 2019

Montclair Brewery Infuses Local Beer Scene With Diversity

Friday through Sunday, October 11th-13th, the Montclair Brewery will be hosting a series of poetry, music and other entertainment at its taproom at 101 Walnut Street. Owned by Leo and Denise Ford Sawadogo, Montclair Brewery first opened its doors on Oct. 12 last year. Get ready to celebrate an important milestone this weekend, Montclair: the anniversary of the township's first microbrewery.

Spotify: Two Brewthers

September 19, 2019

"Two Brewthers" Podcast Show Reviews Montclair Brewery Beers

Tony and Ski Brewther Alex Review the beers they had Montclair Brewery, give their descriptor of the brewery, give some shoutouts on the Talking Pints segment, and let you know where they are going next.

April 20, 2019

Montclair Brewery Named As One of Four Most Unique Breweries

Montclair Brewery offers beers you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the United States. That’s because husband-and-wife owners Leo Sawadogo, who is from West Africa, and Denise Ford Sawadogo, whose family is Jamaican, bring their native flavors to their brews in Montclair.Buying a pint at Montclair Brewery is a way to taste African-influenced brews without buying a plane ticket.

Spotify: The Questionable Behavior

March 01, 2019

"The Questionable Behavior" Interviews Montclair Brewery on their Authentic Brews

Leo & Denise Sawadogo are husband and wife with very different professional backgrounds who decided to one day join their skills, and follow one of Leo's passions which was to make beer and open a brewery. Leo, born in Burkina Faso in West Africa, was exposed to brewing at a very young age as his mother was brewing beer when he was a child. Denise has a masters degree in marketing and has worked with some major companies throughout her career and now brings that know how to the brewery as the marketing director.

March 14, 2018

Montclair Brewery, first microbrewery in town, set to open soon

Fans of the brew will appreciate a new place to sip fresh beer in Montclair. The microbrewery and tasting room, Montclair Brewery, will be the first of its kind to open in the township.

Montclair Local News

January 23, 2018


Raise your glasses and tip your mugs: The Township Planning Board Monday night gave Montclair’s first microbrewery the approvals it needs to open up shop. The board granted the two variances and the site plan approval that local residents Denise Ford Sawadogo and her husband Leo Sawadogo sought for their startup, the Montclair Brewery.


May 12, 2021

8 Uplifting Stories Showcasing Craft Beer’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

Montclair Brewery draws you in with the delicious beers and keeps you there with the stories and great company. With each detail of the space-born of Leo’s passion and Denise’s savvy, pieced together with help of the community, it’s a space for beer lovers and novices alike. Learn more about Montclair Brewery

February 8, 2021

Montclair Brewery Uses Love Of Beer As Platform For Change

A microbrewery in Montclair is continuing its annual tradition of honoring Black History Month with a series of signature beers.

For the third year in a row, the Montclair Brewery will be releasing several new and returning craft beer styles at their tap room at 101 Walnut Street. The Black History Month beers will also be available at some of the brewery's distribution partners. 

November 18, 2020

At this N.J. Brewery, Black Culture is Always on Tap

What part of the world do you first think of when you think of beer?

For Montclair brewer, Leopold Sawadogo, it’s Africa; the continent he was born on and the place where he first learned to brew.

At an early age, his mother taught him all about the brewing process. It made him somewhat of an anomaly in his native land of Burkina Faso, he says. “I’m probably one of the first men from Africa who tried brewing beer,” Sawadogo, who goes by “Leo” for short, jokes. “It’s just not a custom for men to brew beer in those countries.”


September 2020

Arryved Client Spotlight: Denise Ford Sawadogo from Montclair Brewery

Montclair is a very special, tight knit community located in the North East corner of New Jersey. To know it is to love it. There’s a little something for everyone to enjoy in Montclair— but the one thing Montclair was missing was a place for people to drink good beer. 

Enter our main players, Denise and Leo Sawadogo. Leo grew up watching his mom brew beer, which brewed his passion to create his own delicious libations. As homebrewers first, Denise and Leo’s basement was filled with the formidable smells of science experiments and projects on the brink of exploding. Determined to take their home brewing to the next level, they put their expertise together and created the first brewery in Montclair, NJ


October 21, 2020

Globe-Spanning Ingredients and an Emphasis on Community: the Unique Flavors and Inspirations of Montclair Brewery

Sometimes, craft beer can start to feel like a sea of hazy IPAs and crispy pilsners, so we value the breweries that stand out at TapRm. We love working with breweries who weave novel ingredients, methods, ideas, causes, and stories into their beers, making brews that are exciting and memorable whether they’re inventing a whole new style or executing a classic with simple perfection.

That’s why we’re extra psyched to be helping New Yorkers get their hands on beer from New Jersey brewers Montclair Brewery

September 15, 2020

5 Montclair Restaurants, Bars Team Up To Host Dinner Event

It's not just a five-course dinner. It's a sign of solidarity amid the coronavirus pandemic, a group of Montclair business owners say.

On Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 6 p.m., a "collaborative" dinner between several local restaurants and bars will take place at Just Jake's, 30 Park Street in Montclair. The other participating businesses are Montclair Brewery, Guerriero's Gelato and Cakes (Gelati), Le French Dad Boulangerie, and Paper Plane Coffee Company.

July 23, 2020

Montclair Brewery is One of Three Black Owned Breweries in NJ

In New Jersey, the opening of Montclair Brewery in 2018 sent a ripple through the craft beer scene's pervasive whiteness. Sawadogo points out that New Jersey craft brewery owners, though mostly white, have always been welcoming and supportive in her experience. Indeed, when the Texas brewery Weathered Souls Brewing Company called on breweries nationwide to create versions of their Black Is Beautiful beer and donate the proceeds to organizations that advocate for equality, 29 New Jersey breweries signed on.

July 09, 2020

12 New Jersey Craft Breweries Worth a Day Trip

Cans and growlers are available for pickup or delivery to Jersey residents from this brewery, which often takes inspiration from its owners’ West African and Caribbean roots.

NJ Herald

June 18, 2020

What is Juneteenth? New Jersey celebrates holiday commemorating the end of slavery

Leo Sawadogo and Denise Ford Sawadogo, husband-and-wife owners of Montclair Brewery, tell the story of the “laughing barrel” on Juneteenth — the June 19 holiday that celebrates the abolition of slavery.


April 04, 2020

Supporting Our Strongest Women during COVID-19

The Coronavirus couldn't keep us down! Read on to see how Montclair Brewery has been giving back during this pandemic the best way they know how, supporting their community. 

Spotify: Brewing Banter Podcast

March 05, 2020

Brewery Banter Series - Montclair Brewery

Brewsing Banter Podcast presents... The Brewery Banter Series. This week “ The Legendary Brew Crew” visit Montclair Brewery in Montclair, NJ. Owners Leo & Denise Sawadogo join the crew and talk about their entry into the craft beer industry and the creation and all the happenings of Montclair Brewery as we sample some of their tasty offerings.

February 14, 2020

Founders of Montclair Brewery Celebrate Culture Through Craft Beer

Denise-Ford Sawadogo and Leo Sawadogo are the married couple behind New Jersey’s Montclair Brewery. At the foundation of the brewery is a vision of connecting their diverse upbringings and cultures with the Montclair community through beer.

February 14, 2020

Montclair Brewery's New Beers Honor Harriet Tubman, Larry Doby

MONTCLAIR, NJ -- The Montclair Brewery is paying tribute to Black History Month with beers that evoke the legacies of Harriet Tubman and Larry Doby.


February 4, 2020

Montclair Brewery Celebrates Black History Month With Craft Beer and Music

Montclair Brewery announces they will release several new and returning craft beer styles in honor of Black History Month this February. The line-up includes various beer styles that are connected to the African diaspora and Black History makers, such as former slave turned abolitionist, Harriet Tubman and Baseball Hall of Famer, Larry Doby.

Brewers Association

November 23, 2019

Montclair Brewery Celebrates "Small Brewery Sunday"

Montclair, NJ. • December 1st, 2019 — The Brewers Association has declared the Sunday after Thanksgiving as Small Brewery Sunday, a new holiday to celebrate small and independent U.S. craft breweries. On December 1, beer lovers are encouraged to show their support for local and independent breweries and seeking the independent craft brewer seal, a certified mark that identifies beer brewed by independent craft brewers.

Spotify: Two Brewthers

September 19, 2019

"Two Brewthers" Podcast Show Interviews Montclair Brewery Owners

Tony and Ski Brewther Alex take the drive to Montclair Brewery in Montclair, NJ. They talk to owners Leo and Denise about their brewery, the inspiration for naming their beers, how their previous life experiences have set them up for owning and running a brewery, and so much more.

September 09, 2019

Montclair Brewery is Montclair's First Microbrewery To Hold Outdoor Oktoberfest

Saturday, Sept. 28 from 1:30 to 9:45 p.m the Montclair Brewery will host its day-long Oktoberfest party. Montclair's first microbrewery is gearing up for its inaugural Oktoberfest event, and there will be plenty of tasty libations to sample from, organizers say. Inspired by the annual beer tradition in Munich, Germany, the outdoor festival in the rear parking lot at 101 Walnut Street in Montclair will include 18 beers on tap, live music, food and family-friendly fun.

Montclair Brewery

April 6, 2019

Montclair Brewery Forges City Green Farms Partnership with Farm House Ale Collaboration Beer

Sunday, April 7th, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. the Montclair Brewery will release its first batch of the City Green Farm House Collab Ale. This Session IPA is a collaborative brew between City Green Farms and Montclair Brewery. A portion of the proceeds from Sunday’s beer sales will be donated to the North Jersey based, non-profit. The City Green Farm House ale will be sold in pints, half pints and 4 ounce flight glasses. Growler fills will be limited to one per person. Members of City Green team will be on site from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

February 01, 2019

Montclair Brewery Releases Black History Month Beer Series

Montclair Brewery will release beers inspired by African culture and prominent black figures in February to honor Black History Month. “We are extremely excited to connect our culture to that of craft beer,” said Denise Ford Sawadogo, who co-owns the brewery with her husband, Leo Sawadogo.

February 20, 2018

Montclair Couple's Proposed Microbrewery Hits Unexpected Snag

A Montclair couple wants to bring the "magic of beer" to the township, with brews inspired by their roots in West Africa and Caribbean...


January 08, 2018

Montclair Brewery, A New Craft Brewery, Coming to Montclair’s Walnut Street

As a child growing up in West Africa, Leo Sawadogo would watch his mother transforming native grains, herbs, and spices into a tasty alcoholic beverage. A week-long process, the custom of home brewing is not uncommon in Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta), and his mother, in his eyes, was a master brewer long before the popularity of craft brewing took hold in the US, his adopted country...