Spotlight: Shōjō Beer Co
We had the chance to connect with Marilyn (better known as Mari) Orozco, who founded Shōjō Beer Company with husband Haidar Hachem in Miami in 2020. Before Covid, Mari was a successful food blogger, but with the pandemic came a whole lot of free time and creative opportunity. Mari and Haidar decided to bring their skills, traditions and passions together to create Shōjō Beer Co. Blending her Nicaraguan and his Lebanese roots, they have been able to meld their favorite ingredients to create Japanese-inspired beers. Exciting and interesting stuff for the future of craft beer!
Like so many emerging breweries, Shōjō is collaborating and contract brewing with local breweries to help build their brand and raise capital for their own brick and mortar space. They have a strong line-up of creative brews – and their own sake!
They have big dreams for their own space, one that infuses all three cultures and includes a full kitchen, production facility, taproom and a cocktail speakeasy where they will serve their sake as well. Their Hinode (Rice Lager) will definitely be a flagship beer. It’s something that Haidar and Mari homebrewed and were happily able to recreate on a contract brew. Beyond that, they have Kitsune (Fruited Sour Ale) that we change up with different fruit editions every time & Kodama (IPA series), changing up the hops whenever they brew it.
Mari and Haidar use Japanese ingredients to pay homage to their families’ Lebanese and Nicaraguan traditions. They play with choosing ingredients for their beers by connecting to memories from their childhoods and home countries. Their first Fruited Sour Kitsune #1 (Watermelon, Dragonfruit & Yuzu) is reminiscent of when Haidar was in Lebanon on his family’s farm and he just loved eating watermelon during the summer time. Beyond just Japanese ingredients, they also blend ingredients of their cultures to not only tell their stories, but to share them with each person that drinks their beer.
One of the key aspects for Shōjō is the opportunity to engage with the community and create space for people to come together. Whenever a new contract beer or collab beer is released, Mari and Haidar host release parties, and donate a portion of the proceeds earned to nonprofits. Some of the organizations they’ve connected with include Equality Now, Beer Kulture, Hope For Haiti (when they had their terrible earthquakes), Lebanon (when the firework factory exploded and with money sent, we also collected supplies as well to send over), Debris Free Oceans, Pink Boots FL, Adopt Miami Pets. Their most recent release party supported Obee’s Beer.Is.Art campaign (link) and their next release (the Sake Release) they will be donating a portion of proceeds to earthquake relief in Turkey & Syria.
“People love giving back and drinking as well, why not combine both things and make a party out of it?”
To learn more about Mari, Shōjō Beer and what’s in store for the future, click here.