Victory Brewing Co. announced the official premiere of its new state-of-the-art brewery in Parkesburg, Pa. The facility, which is more than 140,000 square feet set on 42 acres of rolling Chester County countryside, prepares the brewery for the next chapter in its history.
“In 2011, we faced the choice of either retracting markets or expanding our production, as demand outpaced our supply,” said Bill Covaleski, Victory’s president and co-founder/brewmaster. “I guess you know which way we landed! Now, after more than 18 months of planning and construction, and maybe just one or two sleepless nights in there, we’re excited to finally show-off this beautiful new brewery.”
The location was chosen because of its similarities to Victory’s home in Downingtown, Pa. Just as the Downingtown brewery recycled an old Pepperidge Farm factory, the Parkesburg brewery is built within an existing building, and both are situated less than 20 miles away from the headwaters of the east and west branches of the Brandywine Creek, respectively.
“Environmental impact and water quality were major considerations for this expansion. Nearly eight months of water-quality research found that the mineral composition of the west branch water is nearly identical to the east branch,” Covaleski continued. “Now the beer is flowing and we couldn’t be more pleased with the result.”
The production space is equipped with top-of-the-line brewing technology and tools, including a best-in-class German-built ROLEC brewhouse with production capacity of up to 200 barrels (bbls) per batch, as well as a proprietary hop separator coined the HopVIC, and a hard-piped fermentation cellar featuring 16 1,000-bbl fermenters. At full capacity, the brewery will be able to brew 225,000 bbls annually – more than doubling the current capability in Downingtown.
“Another one of the really exciting new features in this brewery is the state-of–the-art biological acidification system, which will allow our brewers to naturally optimize pH values throughout the brewing process, yielding cleaner and fresher tasting beer,” explained Ron Barchet, Victory’s chief executive officer and co-founder/brewmaster.
The facility also is designed to entertain and educate, bringing fans and beer enthusiasts closer to all aspects of the brewing process. Construction will continue on the 10,000 square feet of space where a full service brewpub and beer garden are planned, scheduled to near completion by the start of 2015. In the meantime, the facility will be available for private catered events and, beginning April 5, will be accessible to the public via chartered school bus tours from the Downingtown brewpub, which also just recently resumed offering tours on the weekends.
“We share the anticipation our fans have expressed over having the opportunity to enjoy the brewpub and tour experience in Parkesburg,” Barchet said. “While there are still a number of hurdles to cross until that can happen entirely, we’re excited to offer an enjoyable package option that provides a behind-the-scenes look at the brewery, as well as food and beer components in the meantime.”
“Words can barely describe the level of our enthusiasm for this new brewery and what it means for Ron and me,” Covaleski said. “Parkesburg will enable more brewmaster creativity and innovation, as well as the release of new specialty and experimental recipes while allowing us to continue to deliver the existing world-class brands our fans know and love. We hope our fans are equally as excited.”
Parkesburg brewery at-a-glance
- If stretched end to end, more than three miles of stainless steel piping is used to connect the brewery and CIP vessels.
- The custom glulam beams over the brewhouse span 80 feet wide, 50 inches deep, and weigh roughly 10,000 lbs a piece.
- The lauter tun in the brewhouse is 23 feet wide, weighing 26,000 lbs empty, and required a police escort from the seaport in Dundalk, Md., to Parkesburg, traveling on a special “low-boy” trailer to fit under bridges.
- Speaking of the lauter tun, at full capacity it will be able to brew 200 bbls of wort every two hours for beers like Prima Pils, Summer Love and Golden Monkey. That’s 6,200 gallons, or 400 x 1/2 kegs, or 2,755 case equivalents, times 12 batches in 24 hours, to deliver 33,066 cases or 74,400 gallons of beer. You might need to bring a few friends.
- In just one week, the state-of-the-art yeast propagation system can cultivate about 80hL (approximately 2,200 gallons) of yeast with more than 100 million cells per mL, which, in technical terms, is a boatload.
- In the fermentation cellar, the self-supported structure holding all 16 1,000 barrel fermentation tanks, was built on a mat slab concrete foundation that is roughly 840 cubic yards, running four feet deep. With the concrete walls, columns and roof added to that, there is roughly 1,600 yards of concrete surface in the cellar, which required 160 concrete trucks, each tank weighing 425,000 lbs.
- 45,000 feet of wire is needed to connect and run the 600-foot bottling line.