About Lokal Artisan Foods

Lokal Artisan Foods was founded in 2018 by Charisse McGill, who turned lemonade sales by her daughter into a fast-growing Philly-celebrated brand that now has two brick and mortar locations, a spice on grocery store shelves, two beer releases, and a brand-new French Toast Bites Coffee with Bean2Bean.

McGill, 39, is a Temple University alum who attended the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management. She just this month graduated from St. Joseph's Haub School of Business with an MBA in Food Marketing. She is the former Director of Special Events at Valley Forge Military Academy. She also is known for being an expert in open-air economics and organized the highly successful Lansdale Farmers' Market.

For the energetic and talented food entrepreneur, the launch of the new ale is the highlight of one of the most challenging years in modern history for the hospitality business. It is also the highlight of an exciting and challenging journey from quitting her full-time job and going into business for herself.

Just under three years ago, McGill started her own business with money from her first investor, her daughter. Madison (then 12 years old, now 14 years old) hosted lemonade stands and put the proceeds into her Mom's new business. Those lemons turned into literal and figurative lemonade when McGill headed to her first season at the Made in Philadelphia Market. Her French Toast Bites were a run-away, sold-out success! With the funds raised there, she invested back into her business and exploded in 2019 with the debut of her retail version of her priority blend of French Toast Spice - "The Only French Toast Seasoning You Will Need."

For 2020, McGill had big plans that included more and larger festivals and events, more short-and long-term pop-ups, and exploration of a brick-and-mortar space. Then COVID19 hit, and those plans fell apart as they did for many in the hospitality business. These plans really came to a devastating end when the Mayor announced this very week that the city would cancel events until February of 2021. That is an additional seven months of income and opportunity - and the joy of cooking - lost for McGill.

McGill helped champion and became the first paid vendor on the Black-owned and operated Black and Mobile delivery service during the global crisis. She partnered with Better Box to share kitchen and cooking facilities to host pop-up sales via delivery and pick-up. She went on to be one of 60 people to win a grant from Black People Eats, she raised 100% of her goal through a community Kiva loan and was awarded a Magic Johnson forgivable loan to minority-owned businesses through Johnson's EquiTrust Life Insurance Company. She also was awarded a grant from the PA 30 Day Fund.

While this year could have been devastating for McGill with all the events and festivals being erased from her books, McGill did as she always does and picked up, moved forward, put in the hard work, and remained positive. That hard work and attitude paid off as she then made history as the first black female operator at Spruce Street Harbor Park. The buzz from the grand opening on the waterfront then led to a huge volume of increased business inquiries - including a call from Joe Movestine at Doylestown Brewing Company for her first beer release. A few weeks later, the second big connection to the beer world happened when she was connected to Yards, and the rest is history, as they say.