Dundalk native celebrates two decades of brewing craft beer
Last week, Dundalk native Stephen Demczuk held a 20th anniversary celebration for RavenBeer, a craft beer he created in Europe.
After graduating from Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts, Demczuk received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, then earned a master’s degree at Long Island University.
Demczuk’s went on to obtain his Ph. D from the University of Oklahoma before deciding to study abroad in Switzerland.
Once in Europe, Demczuk grew fond of beer.
After taking gigs in the U.S. and Europe, Demczuk met a beer distributor from Germany, who assisted him with brewing his own German beer.
He would go on to market and sell that beer in the U.S.
RavenBeer is a tribute to Edgar Allen Poe’s poem “The Raven.”
Now 20 years later, RavenBeer is still selling and doing well.
“We’re hoping that it’ll be the next “Natty Boh” of Baltimore,” Demczuk said.
To celebrate 20 years in business, Demczuk threw a huge party at the DuClaw facility in Rosedale, where RavenBeer is brewed, and released the 20th Anniversary Raven Special Lager Premium Edition.
According to Demczuk, the lager is a bit fruity, with a 6.5 percent alcohol by volume level (ABV).
The brewers added German Noble and Columbus hops that provide a spicy and herbal aroma. Unlike the Raven Special Lager, the premium edition is lighter because much of the darker malts were removed.
In addition to revealing his new lager, Demczuk put on the Capital’s hockey game, gave tours of the brewery, showed a slide show of the history of RavenBeer from the late 1990s until now and had a table showing the evolution of packaging, similar to a museum.
Maureen O’Prey, author of “Beer in Maryland: A History of Breweries Since Colonial Times”, attended the party to sign and hand out her book.
Editorial cartoonist for the Baltimore Sun, Kevin Kallaugher, showed up to give away one of his books.
“It was a good time,” Demczuk said.
For the first seven years, RavenBeer didn’t sell well due to a plummeting beer craze, but since 2005 business has grown, according to Demczuk.
In September, Demczuk will roll out his seasonal Oktoberfest beer called the “Poetober.”
“Poetober” will come in a bottle, with a classic, German-style taste that’s dark in color.
Two months later, Demczuk plans on releasing his “Int and Madhouse Oyster Style” beer, served with real oysters in it.
“It’s more of a winter beer,” Demczuk noted.
Moving forward, Demczuk wants to focus on local growth.
“There are a lot of people in Maryland that don’t know about my beer,” Demczuk said.
As Demczuk focuses on growing locally, he noted, he plans on maintaining traditional styles and high quality.
Table set up at the 20 year anniversary celebration, showing the evolution of the RavenBeer packaging from 1998 to 2018.