Kindly Old Mr. Curtin wrote a feature story about the Victory Parkesburg opening for the issue of Mid-Atlantic Brewing News which is just now arriving at better bars and pubs around here, but my editors, victims of some sort of crackpot desire to have space in their pages for writers other than I (so weird), cut it to a paragraph or so and shoehorned it into my regular column.
Seems wastefully wasteful to waste all that verbiage, so here it is, unwasted.
Victory Opens Parkesburg Brewery
Victory Brewing Co.’s new 140,000 sq. ft. brewery officially opened at 3127 Lower Valley Rd. in Parkesburg on February 27, marking a major upgrade for one of the nation’s premier craft brewers. When operating at full capacity, the brewery will able to turn out 225,000 barrels annually, more than doubling the current capability in the original Downingtown plant. The expansion became imperative as a result of the brewery’s steady growth and popularity over its 18 years of existence. Victory beers will be sold in 34 states by the time we reach summer and the brand is now moving into select international markets with no signs of slowing down.
Victory Brewing’s new 225,000 barrel state of the art brewing in Parkesburg. Photo Courtesy of Victory Brewing Co.
As has already been reported many times in these pages and elsewhere, the 42-acre second location was chosen because of its similarities to the original site. Just as the Downingtown brewery recycled an old Pepperidge Farm factory, the Parkesburg brewery is built within an existing building and both are situated less than 20 miles away from the headwaters of the east and west branches of the Brandywine Creek, respectively, so that the water quality is the same at both. And the new plant has already created more than 40 fulltime jobs in the area, with more to come.
Parkesburg will now be Victory’s production brewery and bottling plant. In fact, pallets of Victory’s many popular brews already fill the warehouse, and bottles and cases roll off the state-of-the-art production line. The Downingtown location, says Victory co-founder Bill Covaleski, will be reinvented as “a research and development brewery,” which is kind of mind-blowing all by itself. Is there any comparable brewing facility of similar size and capability devoted solely to pushing the boundaries and exploring new avenues anywhere else in the nation?
Co-founder Ron Barchet notes that the new plant is based around a best-in-class German-built ROLEC brewhouse with production capacity of up to 200 barrels per batch, as well as a proprietary hop separator (named “the HopVIC”) and a hard-piped fermentation cellar featuring sixteen 1,000 barrel fermenters. Another one of the really exciting new features,” he says, “is the state-of–the-art biological acidification system, which will allow our brewers to naturally optimize pH values throughout the brewing process, yielding cleaner and fresher tasting beer.
Victory’s PR folks have also come up with some details to help us all wrap our minds around the scope this project. Among them: The lauter tun in the brewhouse is 23 feet wide, weighs 26,000lbs empty and, at full capacity will be able to brew 200 barrels of wort every two hours for beers like Prima Pils, Summer Love and Golden Monkey. That’s 6,200 gallons, or 400 x 1/2 kegs, or 2755 case equivalents, times 12 batches in 24 hours, to deliver 33,066 cases or 74,400 gallons of beer. 45,000 feet of wire is needed to connect and run the 600 foot bottling line. And each of the two largest bright beer tanks hold 1,000 barrels at once, which combined, is equal to 275 more barrels than the total number produced in Victory’s first full year in operation.
The bottling line at the new Victory Brewing Co. plant in Parkesburg. Photo courtesy of Victory Brewing Co.
About the only complaint I can imagine anyone having about anything at this point is that the 10,000 sq. ft. brewpub and beer garden in Parkesburg will not open until early 2015. That means no dropping by at the bar or hunkering down for an afternoon session for another eight months at least. For now, the only way to check out the new place at all will be ticketed tours which will run on school buses from the Downingtown location twice a day every Saturday beginning in April. The ride is 20 minutes each way and will include an extensive guided tour and food and beer pairing meal afterward and is priced at $58 per person. All that will change when the full-service, on-site restaurant launches and visitors will be welcome whenever the dining room is serving to take self-guided tour.