Co-owner, head brewer Ramsey Louder departs ONE Fermentary and Taproom

Alton (left) and Louder (right) while ONE was still under construction, and made of pure promise.

Alton (left) and Louder (right) while ONE was still under construction, and made of pure promise. Lucy Hawthorne

Back in October, City Pages teased the arrival of a promising new beer hang on the scene: ONE Fermentary and Taproom. 

Founded by Ramsey Louder, Joe Alton, and Sally Schmidt under the auspices of heralding a new model for craft beer consumption, ONE touted it would promote greater diversity and inclusion within the scene from their sleek North Loop stronghold. 

At the time, co-owner and head brewer Ramsey Louder was pumped about the future, gushing about the creative freedoms a brewpub license and ONE’s equipment would allow him. Then coronavirus came to town a few months after ONE's doors opened, which changed the game for everyone, including their fledgling operation. 

And as of today, that future that once felt so bright and shiny and promising for the folks at ONE seems to have faded a bit… if not entirely. 

Louder announced via Facebook this morning that he’d found some clarity while fighting through the pandemic:

“Something that I have always known but have tucked away is how vulnerable BIPOC folks are in America. BIPOC folks are dying at the highest rates from COVID-19. BIPOC folks have been fighting against white supremacy in many forms but especially in the form of police brutality for hundreds of years,” writes Louder. “I’ve realized that my vision and values differ from those of ownership of ONE. The brewery that I see is one that represents BIPOC folks not only by creating a space that is welcoming to them. It also is a brewery that exists where BIPOC lives.” 

“I’ve resigned from ONE Fermentary and Taproom,” he continued. “I challenge them to continue the mission of creating a space that puts diversity and inclusion first. And I hope they continue to make great beer, but it is time for me to step out and attempt to achieve my dream.”

Hours later, Alton chimed in with the following tweet:

With two of the original owners officially checked out, this begs the question: Without Louder and Alton, how is ONE still… functioning? City Pages reached out to the brewpub, but no comment was immediately available. 

Going on a profile on their pandemic endurance published yesterday in the BizJournal, the taproom’s third co-founder, marketing professional Sally Schmidt, might just be the ONE person left standing… Should that prove the case, fans of the taproom might want to keep their fingers crossed that Louder taught her a thing or two about using ONE's concrete foeder before walking away…

Update 6/27/20 12:35 p.m.: Schmidt reached out to City Pages with a statement from ONE regarding Louder's departure. It appears, in full, below. 

We are heartbroken that Ramsey is leaving ONE and, at the same time, incredibly supportive of his desire to pursue the vision he describes in his post. We wish him every success and will do anything we can to support him as he moves into the next phase of his life. We will greatly miss his leadership and the myriad day-to-day contributions he has brought to ONE. We’re grateful for every day we’ve had the opportunity to work with him.

We also want to say that we gladly accept the challenge he’s put forward to continue making ONE a business that celebrates diversity and inclusion as our core values. That’s how we envisioned ONE when it was just idle talk and it is, we believe, the kind of place this incredible team is continuing to build. What we wanted and what this team has created is for ONE to be a place for everyone—hence the name—from our space to our people to our beverage offerings. Our goal was - and remains - to create a venue where people of all ethnicities, gender identities, abilities and ages could be comfortable, whether they are guests or members of our team. Our commitment to this mission will not waiver.