The pace of change in the beer world has never been greater. As the industry continues to move and shake, rattle and roll, and find its footing to move confidently into the future, the only constant is change.
On a somewhat regular basis, I'm going to attempt to keep you in the know with some of the most noteworthy news items happening. I'll focus primarily on the region (defined as I see fit) centered around my home turf of Philadelphia. And, considering I wrote a book about the PA, NJ, MD, and DE beer scenes and continuously stay abreast of changes within those four states, I'll likely cover newsy happenings from Erie to the Eastern Shore, Bayonne to Baltimore, and Pittsburgh back to Philly.
Let's try to knock off the first two months of 2016 in succinct bulletpoints and see where we go from there. Of course, if I missed anything you deem noteworthy, please hit up the comments below.
(in no particular order, seriously)
Mispillion River - as the Philly market continues to house one of the country's most diverse retail beer collections from around the world, it's great to see new ones available in the Philly market from just a few miles down the road in Milford, Del. Keep your eyes open for three-year-old Mispillion River Brewing Company and their excellent beers such as Beach Bum Joe (Belgian Pale) and Double Chin (Double IPA). [Link to Philly Beer Scene]
Southern Tier - on the heels of announcing the joint venture/partnership/don't-call-it-a-sellout with Victory Brewing Company, a plan to open a brewpub in Pittsburgh's North Shore neighborhood was announced by Southern Tier Brewing Company. The Lakewood, NY-based brewery plans to set up along the bank of the Allegheny River in between Heinz Field and PNC Park and joins Penn Brewery, Grist House Brewing Company, and Draai Laag Brewing Company on Pittsburgh's increasingly popular North Shore across from downtown. [Link to STBC's news page]
Victory - speaking of that joint venture between Victory and Southern Tier, all short-term signs point to continued business as usual. Under the Artisanal Brewing Ventures holding company, Victory's 52 original investors get paid out in a combination of stock shares and cash and Ron Barchet becomes COO. According to VBC, the previously-planned brewpub for Leesburg, Va. is currently on hold. Will be interesting to see if they fold in any additional mid- to small-tier breweries in the coming months. [Link to Victory Brewing Company]
ShawneeCraft - ShawneeCraft Brewing Company is a standout brewing operation in northeast Pennsylvania on the doorstep of the Pocono Mountains. They recently announced that the grand opening for Scratch – their unique and collaborative food-beer retail operation inside the Easton Public Market in downtown Easton, Pa. – will be on March 18. [Link to Scratch's website]
Boaks - One of NJ's earliest homebrewers to turn pro, Brian Boaks and his Boaks beer have been around festivals and here and there for quite a few years. Now, he's decided to close up shop and deplete his inventory at a bunch of "Farewell Tour" upcoming events. The Great Beer Expo in Philly on June 4 will be one of the last chances to get his commercially brewed Boaks beer. [Link to Boaks' blog]
Susquehanna - the only time I visited Susquehanna Brewing Company, I was surprised such a beautiful brewing facility had no real tasting room. That's about to be rectified tomorrow, March 5, and that's a really good thing considering some of my favorite beers from them (thinking: Southern Rye IPA, Pils Noir, and especially the Goldencold Lager) that should be enjoyed by the glassful while sitting and chatting with others. [Link to SBC's tour page]
Saucony Creek - Also tomorrow, March 5, Kutztown, Pa. will see its Saucony Creek Brewing Company add on a gastropub, extending the experience of a visit to the brewery. Check out the announcement for all the festivities surrounding the opening and the brewery's third anniversary celebration. [Link to SCBC's press release]
Homebrewers - The Homebrew Con (formerly known as National Homebrewers Conference - can't imagine the need for name change, but I digress) is descending upon Baltimore, Md. from June 9-11. The most amazing confluence of education, events, vendors, and beer judging will take over the city's convention center and, I'm sure, dozens of bars and breweries for an unforgettable experience. I look forward to covering the excellent event in the excellent city of Baltimore; attendees are in for a treat. Maybe I should plug my book for advice of what to see/do! [Link to NHC event website]
New Jersey - I was surveyed and contributed to New Jersey Monthly's sweet 16 of brewery braketology with my top six breweries (ask nicely, and I might share that list with you). This is a mighty fine list from the Garden State. Now it's up to you to crown the best. [Link to New Jersey Monthly]
Sly Fox - Gosh, I recall ten years ago when the thought of merging running and beer events elicited hardly anything but scoffs and jeers. My running/beer events that I conducted were always wildly popular, but nothing like what breweries and bars have come up with these days. Case in point: check out the Sly Fox Fox Trot 5-K and accompanying Tap, Tunes, & Trucks festival. [Link to Sly Fox's event page]
Yards - Looks like Yards is ready to grow again. Hard to believe that the once-spacious building on Delaware Avenue is already reaching capacity. Read the article; stay away from the comments. [Link to Philly.com]
Meeting Of The Malts - Finally, a meeting of some of the brightest minds and most recognizable figures in the brewing industry are set up for a triple play of events in Bethlehem, Pa. on March 24. Ken Grossman (Sierra Nevada), Jim Koch (Boston Beer), and Dick Yuengling (D.G. Yuengling & Son) will hold court from 7:15 p.m.-9:30 p.m. under the banner of Meeting of the Malts to discuss the current state of affairs in the business of beer. Bookending this event, at which time a five-course beer-pairing meal will be served, the Pennsylvania Brewpub Festival will happen from 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. and a "Prohibition Party" will take place from 10:15 p.m.-12 a.m. at The Foundry Room in the Sands Casino Resort. Should be a fun, educational, and tasty night. [Link to Brewers of PA event page]