Brewing Up Community

Beer is a family affair for the husband-and-wife duo Duncan and Carmone Macfarlane.

In April 2014, the Macfarlanes combined their 30-plus years of brewing experience with co-founders Scott Cardwell and Steve Zigmund to bring the craft beer revival to Mansfield through The Phoenix Brewing Company. Duncan is the head brewer; Carmone, “Red,” is the chief creative officer and head of marketing.

The Phoenix opened almost 10 years ago, but its origins date to a century before that. It isn’t housed in a refurbished factory or trendy outdoor space, but a fully restored mortuary and funeral home located near Mansfield’s pre-prohibition brewery district. Despite being in a former mortuary, The Phoenix is anything but “dead.” In fact, it’s one of the centerpieces of booming downtown Mansfield, and a favorite hotspot for its quality craft beers and live local music.

While we can’t imagine Mansfield without the Macfarlanes now, both are transplants — sort of. Carmone hails from Lima, and Duncan moved here as an infant, but bounced around as an adult, including stops in Florida, Findlay and Columbus. “There was so much to do here [in Mansfield] already,” remembers Carmone, “and the location between Cleveland and Columbus was a selling point.” At the time, Duncan was an environmental scientist, while Red was an art education teacher. Still, the Macfarlanes could sense something was … brewing.

“We started planning The Phoenix in 2013,” says Duncan. “And we haven’t looked back since.” While running a brewery is hard work — turns out making beer is harder than drinking it — the couple credits the Mansfield community for their success. “Everyone has a collaborative spirit and wants to see each other succeed,” says Duncan.

“There’s a general positive attitude amongst everyone,” agrees Carmone. “Things happen gradually, but we’re still seeing big changes every day.” The Macfarlanes are part of those big changes as business owners — and as residents. When not working, you can find them frequenting one of the many places around the community.

The couple is helping out in other ways, too. Since the pandemic, The Phoenix worked out a no-tipping policy. Any money left behind for tips is given to local charities. Staff were given across-the-board raises, and allowed to cross-train to enhance their skill sets. It’s just one of the many ways the brewery is giving back to the community that has given them so much. “Our community is invested in itself. We’re inclusive,” says Duncan. “We’re an environment that’s fun for everyone, with collaborations that include all. We’re just so proud to be part of that.”