Chesco welcomes expansion by Victory Brewing

The bar at Victory Brewing Co. in Downingtown. Victory is planning new brewpubs in Kennett Square and Parkesburg.
The bar at Victory Brewing Co. in Downingtown. Victory is planning new brewpubs in Kennett Square and Parkesburg. (RACHEL WISNIEWSKI / Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 03, 2014

Chester County, seeking to enhance its reputation as a business destination, can already boast of being home to two well-known companies.

"People know Vanguard," County Commissioner Ryan Costello said of the financial giant.

"People know QVC," he said of the popular TV shopping network.

Now, local officials are looking for Victory Brewing Co. to boost the county's image, too.

"It's a story of local success we can all be proud of," Guy Ciarrocchi, president of the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry, said of Victory, which opened its first brewery in Downingtown in 1996.

Victory may not have the national name recognition of Vanguard or QVC yet. But the local expansion it has planned for the next year may go far in connecting its brand with its home in Chester County.

"Our heart," said Amy DePaoli, Victory's director of marketing, "is in Chester County for sure."

Victory, with a busy brewery - it attracts thousands of visitors each year - and popular pub in Downingtown that can handle more than 300 guests, already sells its beer in 34 states and several countries, and its 212,000-square-foot, $38 million brewing facility in Parkesburg has produced more than 39,000 barrels of beer.

And, with plans to open a second brewpub on the ground floor of the new Magnolia Place apartment complex in Kennett Square in the fall and a third in Parkesburg next year, the company will likely add about 200 jobs, roughly doubling its workforce in the county.

Such expansion has helped Chester County become one of the region's fastest-growing residential and commercial areas. And although the county does not offer its own tax incentives, business leaders said it helps companies of all sizes make the most of the federal and state programs that reduce or waive taxes.

Michael Bray, who buys and leases buildings for Vanguard, said its employees also value the county's cultural institutions and enjoy a "wonderful work-life balance."

"Vanguard is here to stay," Bray said of the company that employs more than 9,900 people in and around its Malvern offices. "We've invested a lot in Chester County."

QVC employs about 3,000 people at its West Chester headquarters.

"We have this strong industrial business base, but at the same time we have beautiful open space, and trails, and things to enjoy," said Mike Grigalonis, chief operating officer at the county's Economic Development Council.

Area business leaders say they also appreciate the county for its educated residents, who make for a competent workforce, and access to public transportation.

Victory was especially drawn to the Brandywine Creek, which winds through the county near its Downingtown and Parkesburg production sites. The brewer uses the water from the creek and its tributaries as one of the main ingredients for its beer.

To tap into local sentiment about the future of the economy, the county has asked residents to speak up, and about 100 have given their opinions and ideas in an online survey - www.vista2025.com - that runs through June 15.

The county is also looking at communities in such places as Texas and Oregon that have similar demographics and industries to see how they attract business.

"This used to be a place to live, and you go somewhere else to get the amenities," Ciarrocchi, of the chamber of business and industry, said of Chester County.

"But now they're all here."


mbond@philly.com

610-313-8207 @MichaelleBond

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