“When people hear about my job, I get invited to a lot more parties,” said Ron Barchet, cofounder of Victory Brewing.
Barchet, who studied microbiology, chemistry, engineering and everything craft beer at the Technical University of Munich, started Victory Brewing with childhood friend Bill Covaleski in Downingtown in February 1996.
“I worked for Old Dominion Brewery in Virginia and Bill worked for a brewery in Virginia,” said Barchet. “We wanted to make our own recipes, to put a twist on classic styles of beer.”
Victory in Downingtown produces 100 thousand 31-gallon barrels of craft beer with 35 on tap for locals. One-off and seasonal brews, such as Summer Love and Festbier, sell around Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Their fourteen core brands go nationwide.
“We are filled up in Downingtown,” said Barchet. “That’s why we’re opening a second location in Parkesburg.”
Victory in Parkesburg, a $35 million project, is a 200 thousand square foot facility on forty rural acres. Testing—brewing, fermenting, dumping, trialing—starts in late September before production in November.
“There’s lots of automation before optimization,” said Barchet.
Victory negotiated a lease to buy in four years for full control of improvements—and plans to offer a hops field, beer farm, restaurant, bar, outdoor patio and retail outlets with six-packs and merchandise.
“We want people to drink beer, have a good time, listen to music,” said Barchet.
There will also be tours for beer education, including interactive screens with videos on how beer is made. Water, barley, hops, yeast, alcohol levels, agricultural background. The works.
“The more people know about craft beer, the more they’re interested in it. They want to touch and feel the process,” said Barchet. “By the time you leave here, you’ll know more.”
Ron and Covaleski got into this business because of core German values. “Craft beers take market share from bigger breweries,” said Barchet. “It’s not for over-indulgers. It’s a little more expensive. It’s a natural part of culture.”
As Victory gets closer to being a natural part of Parkesburg, Parkesburg Today will bring you more and more updates. Soon we will cover the intricate process of brewing. Below are snapshots of what will eventually make 225 thousand barrels a year.