Wednesday, June 25, 2008

First batch brewed at "new" Boston Beer brewery in Pennsylvania

I just got an e-mail from Boston Beer: there will be a media event this Friday at their new Pennsylvania facility, the former Pabst/former Stroh/former Schaeffer brewery outside of Allentown (the location was variously tagged as Fogelsville, Trexlertown, Allentown, and Lehigh Valley; Boston Beer is referring to it as "upper Macungie Township," a description which would have tickled my late friend and homebrewer extraordinaire, Mark Johnston, a Macungie boy). We're invited to meet with Jim Koch and sample the first batch of Samuel Adams brewed at the plant.

I've said that this is a great move for Boston Beer; it gets them out of the contract brewing business and puts them in control of their destiny. It's also a brewery that was practically designed with Sam Adams in mind -- except for the obvious issue of not being in Boston (which keeps the costs down considerably!), this place is great: equipped for traditional lager brewing with big horizontal lagering tanks, built for the tours a company like Sam Adams would love to do, a display brewery right on I-78 for a company that's proud of its beer, and -- did I mention the I-78 location? -- positioned on two major Interstates (it's about two miles from I-476) and a rail line.

Unfortunately, I can't make the event this Friday; we're going camping with the kids. But I can't tell you how stoked I am to see Boston Beer get a real brewery; to see Jim Koch's plans come together; and to see this great brewery making beer again. Cheers!

12 comments:

---Guy said...

So I guess that's another brewery to add in Vol. 4 of "Pennsylvania Breweries".

sam k said...

A red-letter day not only for Boston Brewing, but for Pennsylvania as well! Great to see the most beautiful modern brewery in the country back doing what it was intended to do...make great beers (R.I.P. Smirnoff Ice)! I remember driving past there in the early 80s, when that gorgeous building stood nearly all alone in that broad valley, proud and purposeful. A lot more crowded in that neighborhood today, but the plant is no less striking.

As for Boston getting out of the contract business, I'm not so sure. It's my understanding that they have invested heavily in City's Latrobe brewery, and I would expect that to continue, at least to some extent. I also get the impression that Sam Adams is all that's being produced there now.

Lew Bryson said...

God, Guy, my editor's not bad enough, now you're bugging me about that, too? Just cuz you want your brewery in Da Book, right?

Sam, "out of the contract brewing business" may have been a bit over-stated, but...once all the improvements are in place at "upper Macungie Township," it's going to be a hard argument to make against brewing all the eastern U.S. Sammy A there. Western, well, that might still make sense to contract somewhere else.

Rich said...

Koch is a stand-up guy. A real asset to the craft beer industry. I hope things work well for them in PA. Very cool.

jakester said...

Man, this has "road trip" stamped all over it!

---Guy said...

Nope, just want to make sure your masterwork stays current...

Beerman said...

> But I can't tell you how stoked I am to see Boston Beer get a real brewery

I guess you mean "get another real brewery," right? They own their outfit in Cincy, yeah?

brad

ClockworkOrange said...

Nice! I just drove by there tonight on my way home from my Aunt's house in Zionsville. I reset my trip odometer as I passed the brewery and see that I'm around 35 miles away. Hopefully tours and a tasting room with (fingers crossed) growler sales, etc. are not far of...

RonfromJersey said...

Hey Lew,

Any word on when they will be inviting the public in ?

Tour, Tasting Room, and Gift Shop I hope ?

Scott Beveridge said...

It's on my road trip list. This is good news for Pennsylvania.

Lew Bryson said...

Don't know when the brewery will be open for tours, not sure it's planned, though I'd be shocked if not. One of the things I hope to find out.

Beerman, I was aware of -- and considering -- the old Hudepohl-Schoenling brewery as I wrote that...but the Hudie brewery has always been much too small to address Boston Beer's needs. This is a big brewery, and one that can expand as needed. So "real" was a judgment.

Anonymous said...

Regarding tours. I emailed Boston Beer Co a few times about tours in PA this Aug and finally received a reply that no tours were available.

At the Kennett Brewfest, I asked the guys at the Sam Adams booth and they said it is in the works for the future but they are still working on getting the brewery going. So good news for those of us that love brewery tours.