Penguin City Beer has their first tenant in their recently purchased warehouse in downtown Youngstown, Ohio — Hannah Ferguson, of D.O.P.E Cider House & Winery, will be leasing a 1,000-sq-ft production facility and tasting room housed next to the warehouse. Hannah Ferguson, an assistant brewer at Modern Methods Brewery in Warren, will now be the head cidermaker at her own facility. She is from Youngstown, Ohio and is the only female black brewer / cidermaker in the state of Ohio.
“Honestly, this has been very emotional for me. I have been trying, unsuccessfully, for years to get my business going, and just when I felt like giving up, this opportunity presented itself,” said Ferguson. “It’s amazing because Aspasia wasn’t aware of my business aspirations and the difficulties I’ve faced.”
D.O.P.E. Cider House and Winery is slated to open along with Penguin City in late summer. Penguin City will assist Hannah in branding and helping distribute her product throughout the valley, and Hannah will be assisting in brewing at Penguin City. It’s a true collaboration.
“This partnership with Hannah is a slam dunk. She told me she has been trying to find a place in Youngstown for over 3 years for her own business,” said Aspasia Lyras-Bernacki, co-owner, Penguin City Beer. “When I showed her the space, I knew she found her dream spot. Our facility is more than Penguin City Beer; we are a part of the community, and we want to show that working together and helping each other out will build us all up and make our city stronger.”
Background on D.O.P.E. Hannah Ferguson started D.O.P.E. Brands in 2017 which stands for Dwelling On Positive Energy. She started making wine as a home winemaker back in 2013 and decided to pursue it professionally when she completed the WE Create and WE Launch program at the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI).
Hannah has experienced ups and downs trying to get her business up and running. She got a break when she collaborated with Sundog Cellars in July of 2020 with DOPE cider, a blend of strawberry, coconut and pineapple with an 8% ABV. Ten percent of sales goes to D.O.P.E. Brands LLC. When the cider house opens, Hannah plans to have 8 ciders on tap and 4 varieties of wine.
A mutual friend told Aspasia she needed to talk to Hannah, and the rest uis now history.
“I am very excited and overwhelmed,” she said. “This cider house and winery will be the first in Youngstown. I will be the first black female-owned cider house in the state of Ohio as well. I’ve always wanted my business to start in Youngstown, and it’s finally happening.”
Penguin City Beer released in 2018 and is now served in over 400 locations across the valley. Its flagship beer is Penguin City Beer, a crisp, golden ale. They will be moving their operations from 530 Mahoning