Streetcar 82 makes a name for Deaf-owned businesses

06/26/2019| Amanda Winters

Streetcar 82 makes a name for Deaf-owned businesses

06/26/2019 | Amanda Winters

As Hyattsville’s second brewery, and the first Deaf-owned brewery east of the Mississippi River, Streetcar 82 Brewing Co. has made itself a neighborhood staple for Deaf and hearing customers alike.

Opened in the summer of 2018, Streetcar 82 was founded by three friends—owners Jon Cetrano, Mark Burke, and Sam Costner—all graduates of Gallaudet University, a private university in Washington, D.C. for the Deaf and hard of hearing.

After graduation, the trio left the D.C. area, but eventually returned and reconnected over their love of craft beverages and the community.

For those familiar with Hyattsville, the brewery’s name may sound familiar. The business borrows its name from the city’s 82 Streetcar line, a mode of transportation which ran from D.C. to Prince George’s County in the late 1800’s until 1958. Looking back, the streetcar rode past each of the owners’ homes, as well as the brewery.

“That means we all could have gotten on the streetcar and gone to the brewery! How cool is that?” Mark Burke explained in a video.

With strong support from the Deaf community and a unique, small-town feel in Hyattsville, the brewery couldn’t be positioned anymore perfectly. Streetcar 82’s presence has not only encouraged the city to look at its diversity and inclusivity practices, but also find new ways to support local businesses and Deaf residents.

”We now have the opportunity to empower our community, not only the Deaf community, but the hearing community as well,” Sam Costner recently said in a video. “We are here as one community, [and] we want to see Hyattsville become a city that everyone wants to come to.”

Located in a former auto garage, Streetcar 82’s facility includes two large garage doors that slide open to encourage the indoor/outdoor atmosphere of the brewery, with cornhole boards and life-size Jenga available outside the taproom. The company found their current space with help from the City of Hyattsville and the local commercial façade improvement program, and is also working with the City on operating a weekly food truck hub.

With more than 70 Deaf and hard of hearing-owned businesses in Maryland, the company’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Earlier this year, Governor Larry Hogan kicked off the state’s annual FeBREWary celebration and received a lesson on fingerspelling S82 (featured below on the brewery’s beer glass).

And last fall, Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford participated in Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing’s annual legislative awareness day. The event honored eight Deaf leaders and Deaf-advocates from around Maryland, including Streetcar 82 Brewery, which received the Deaf Business Award.

“Maryland is home to 1.2 million Deaf and hard of hearing individuals, and we are proud to be committed to providing equal and full access for all Marylanders,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford late last year. “Congratulations to all of the award recipients; they have our sincere gratitude for their important work on behalf of the Deaf community.”

“The Governor's Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing seeks to advance the Deaf Ecosystem, meaning we support and promote Deaf and hard of hearing-owned businesses and the hiring of Deaf and hard of hearing employees in public and private sectors,” said Kelby Brick, director of the office. “We are so proud that Streetcar 82 is doing just that! This business has hired remarkable Deaf employees and has brought the Deaf community together, which has in turn, had great impact for educating other businesses and hearing individuals about our community and culture.”

The brewery is in good company for the state’s growing craft beverage scene. In addition to Streetcar 82, there are a number of other blossoming businesses—especially along Route 1. Franklin’s Brewery, Maryland Meadworks, and Sangfroid Distilling all call Hyattsville home, and Denizens Brewing Co. opened a new production house and taproom in the city just last month.

“The community support in Hyattsville has been amazing. Hyattsville makes a genuine effort to support local business, they truly embrace diversity, and the city creates space for an authentic and organic neighborhood to develop,” said Jon Cetrano. “We’re proud to be a part of that growth and couldn't be happier to be in Hyattsville. We also have great complementary neighbors—we think the craft beverage scene in town is pretty awesome.”

With a population thirsty for craft experiences, breweries, wineries, and distilleries are thriving in Maryland. Learn more.

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