Victory Brewing celebrates 25 years of growth, unveils new patio at D’town location

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times @mikemcgannpa

Victory Brewing General Manager Kyle Solimeo cuts the ribbon as Victory founders Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet hold it, as the Downingtown brewer celebrated its new patio seating — and 25 years in business.

DOWNINGTOWN — It was a bit of a beer lover’s paradise Tuesday morning: Victory Brewing was celebrating 25 years in business and the debut of its new patio seating area at the brewery’s Downingtown-area location — the original home of the brewery and brew pub.

But the ribbon cutting — joined by local officials, local business leaders, company officials and Victory founders Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet — was about more than just the new patio. 

It was a celebration of the dream of two childhood friends — Covaleski and Barchet — turning into one of America’s best known craft brewing brands and the incredible growth the company has seen in a quarter century.

And while Victory grew to be the 27th largest independent brewer in the country, it became clear changes would be needed to continue that growth and be able to compete with the big brewing companies and keep growing.

A key part of that growth has come since Victory became part of Artisanal Brewing Ventures — a joint venture of Victory and Southern Tier of Lakewood, NY, started in 2016 with the idea of allowing the brewer to remain independent, yet compete with the big corporate brewers. Since then, Sixpoint Brewing (of Brooklyn, NY) and Bold Rock Ventures, the Charlotte, NC-based cider producer joined up. 

In order to compete with giant corporate brewers such as Anheuser-Busch In-Bev (which has been scooping up craft breweries at a ferocious rate of late), the partnership allows the member brewers to share costs on supplies, shipping and human resources and more, while leaving local control of the beer — how it is made and which varieties to brew — in the hands of local management with major input from the founders, like Covaleski and Barchet.

It has made for a stronger operation with Victory brews available now in 35 states at this point — and two other locations, Parkesburg and Charlotte, NC (another location in Kennett Square is temporarily closed awaiting repairs from a fire in the residential/commercial building they lease). A new location will open later this fall in Center City Philadelphia — at 1776 Franklin Parkway, no less — as the steady growth continues. 

There is also a new line of hard seltzers on the market now.

Some evidence of the cross-pollination: Southern Tier moved into the distillery business and a number of products, including canned, pre-mixed cocktails are available for sale. 

The progress has not been lost on the Downingtown location, which has seen numerous updates (sadly, the old pool tables remembered by many from the early days are long gone) — the menu is vastly expanded and there are many more beer options now — including various seasonal beers that are widely popular well beyond Chester County.

The new deck offers more than a dozen tables, umbrellas and for you brewing geeks, a nice view of the giant brewing tanks in the distance.

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