The United States now has more breweries than at any time in its history, and Philadelphia-area entrepreneurs are helping to lead the way by opening even more breweries at a rapid pace. More than a dozen craft breweries are to open or expand by summer 2014, according to Visit Philadelphia, formerly known as Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp.
According to the Brewers Association, a craft beer industry trade group, the United States was home to only eight craft breweries in 1980, 537 in 1994 and more than 2,700 today. Regionally, craft brewers are opening locations in every county — from Victory Brewing in Kennett Square to Broken Goblet Brewery in Bristol — and more are working hard to secure licenses and locations before 2015.
Here’s a look at some breweries now in the works in the Philadelphia region:
Do Good Brewing: Founded with a strong philanthropic bent, Do Good donates a portion of every sale to charity. Located in a former textile mill in Port Richmond that’s been converted to a workspace for craftspeople, Do Good has opened its tasting room while it revs its 7-barrel (bbl) brewhouse up to full capacity in January 2014. Brewer/Owners Tom Sheridan and Benjamin Bedard are tech and engineering professionals by day who celebrated the sale of their first keg to Barcade in Fishtown in fall 2013.
Broken Goblet Brewery: The four buddies behind Broken Goblet have spent two years drafting a business plan for the 3-bbl operation and tasting room they expect to open in an industrial park in early 2014. To start, Mike LaCouture and Jay Grosse formed The Brewtal Beer Club to generate support, test their beers and try out their marketing, and within six months the club grew to 30 members and hosted events with upwards of 100. After a larger brewery threatened a trademark infringement lawsuit over the Brewtal name, they found their new title when one of the brewers smashed a goblet on the ground in frustration. As LaCouture tells it, “We all looked down, stared at the broken goblet, and realized we had found our new name.”
Armstrong Ales: Though he opened as a 1-bbl nano-brewery in the summer of 2013, Armstrong owner Steve Armstrong hopes to secure enough financing to expand to 10 bbls in the next few years. For now, Armstrong brews primarily English- and Belgian-style ales and puts them on tap at a few nearby bars and at his tasting room, open every day but Sunday and Monday.
Guild Hall Brewing: In late February 2014, Jenkintown should have its first brewery in the form of Guild Hall, a 7-bbl brewpub located in an 80-year-old former Rolls Royce garage and antique shop. Original General Lafayette head brewer Owen Hutchins returns to the industry with his wife to produce mostly classic styles (including the General Lafayette recipe for Germantown Blonde kolsch) with the possibility for more adventurous ales in the future. The pub will contain 146 seats and serve English pub food, along with Pennsylvania wines. Hutchins plans to brew with all-natural ingredients and source materials for beer and food with as much local influence as possible.