Two brew pubs prepare to open in Kennett Square

Victory Brewing's pub in Downingtown. Another is coming to Kennett Square this fall.
Victory Brewing's pub in Downingtown. Another is coming to Kennett Square this fall. (RACHEL WISNIEWSKI / Staff Photographer)
Posted: September 04, 2014

Kennett Square, a borough in Chester County known mostly for its mushrooms, will add craft beer to its list of permanent attractions this fall when it welcomes its first brew pubs.

One is owned by Victory Brewing Co., a regional craft-beer giant that sells its products in 34 states and several countries. It has a 212,000-square-foot, $38 million brewing facility in Parkesburg and has the appreciation of county officials who hope the brewer can help boost the county's economic image.

The other brew pub is owned by Kennett Brewing Co. and grew from a hobby in 2012. Its owners are four friends from Nottingham, Lancaster County, who recently moved the brewing operation out of their houses and raised about $19,400 in an online campaign to pay for building upgrades.

Victory and Kennett will open their brew pubs about half a mile apart, and the square mile that is Kennett Square stands to benefit.

"This is the first step to becoming recognized in the region as a beer destination," Borough Manager Brant Kucera said.

It is also a sign of the craft-brewing times. The number of brew pubs in the country has jumped from 329 in 1994 to 1,237 in 2013, according to the national Brewers Association.

Kennett Square has embraced the craft-beer-drinking community for years as part of its efforts to revitalize its downtown. For nearly a decade, the borough has hosted Kennett Brewfest, which this year will offer beer samples from more than 90 local, regional, and craft breweries on Oct. 11.

Borough officials are encouraged that Victory and Kennett Brewing chose Kennett Square for their new brew pubs. Both companies approached the borough about two years ago.

"Kennett is a great town, in that it's going through a renaissance and becoming a hot spot for beer culture," said Amy DePaoli, Victory's director of marketing.

Victory's newest brew pub - it already has a popular one in Downingtown - will seat 250 when it opens in a luxury apartment complex on West Cypress Street.

DePaoli said Victory was supportive of smaller breweries and anything that raises awareness to the art of craft brewing. Victory welcomes Kennett Brewing, she said.

"It's nice to offer different options that cater to different groups of people," she said.

Kennett Brewing is transforming an old building into its brew pub, which will offer traditional English ale-style beers and American beers with a twist. It will seat 50 at the opening and eventually expand to 100.

The owners of Kennett Brewing, who said they fell in love with Kennett Square, plan to make their brew pub on South Broad Street unique by bringing in local artists and becoming a community gathering spot. Two of the owners, Jen and Chris Braunstein, are teachers in the Kennett school district.

The Braunsteins and their co-owners, Mark and Jossy Osborne, did not know Victory was coming when they decided to open their brew pub.

"We're definitely not worried about it," Jen Braunstein said. "It's good for the town, so it's good for us."

Kennett Brewing's owners join home brewers across the country who have raised money through the website Kickstarter to open their own breweries.

"I would say after the first 24 hours [of fund-raising] I was in tears," Jen Braunstein said. "The amount of people who were supporting us, it was just incredible."

Neither company has set a specific opening date in the fall.

Guy Ciarrocchi, president of the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry, compared Victory and Kennett Brewing to Starbucks and a local coffee house. They have different audiences and can both do well, he said.

"I would hazard to say on occasion people go out and go to two or more bars in the same night," Ciarrocchi noted.


BY THE NUMBERS

329

Brew pubs in

the United States in 1994

1,237

Brew pubs in

the United States in 2013

SOURCE: Brewers Association


mbond@philly.com

610-313-8207 @MichaelleBond

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