Craft brewer seeks Beaver Falls expansion

Scott Tady
stady@timesonline.com

BEAVER FALLS — Business is hopping for a local craft brewer.

Demand is so stout for Beaver Brewing Co. beers that owner Dan Woodske hopes to expand in a new location and add a brewpub.

Woodske bought a building on Seventh Avenue in Beaver Falls, near D&G Pizza. Pending borough and state approvals, Beaver Brewing probably would open in 2013, pouring craft beers made on site.

“We are already working with the city to get everything in order,” said Woodske, who will meet for a second time with the Beaver Falls Planning Commission this week, and the borough’s zoning board next month.

Woodske will need the state to grant him a brewpub license, authorizing him to sell beer for on-site consumption.

He also needs state approval to transfer his separate brewery license, which covers his current beer-making facility in a former pizza shop in Patterson Township.

Since December 2010, that’s where Woodske has been handcrafting Beaver Brewing artisan brands like Chamomile Wheat, I.Porter.Ale, Ryeing Game, Basil and Pecan Pie Brown Nut Ale.

He took a slow, steady business approach for three reasons:

“One, I wanted to see if I could do it, because I didn’t go to school to become a brewmaster; two, I needed to see if I could get through all the goofy Pennsylvania legal stuff; and three, I needed to find out if there is a market for craft beers in Beaver County,” Woodske said. “That was probably the biggest part of it.

“I found out in the last 18 months that there’s a really big demand for it,” Woodske said.

Initially, he supplied kegs of Beaver Brewing brands to local bars like the 1810 Tavern in Bridgewater and the Backdoor Tavern in Fallston.

Then he launched a takeout beer business from his brewery on 15th Street in Patterson. On the first Friday and Saturday of each month the brewery hosts Growler Days, selling beer in 64-ounce containers. Also available for takeout are 22-ounce bottles and kegs.

The takeout business is doing so well, he hasn’t been able to keep up the inventory for local bars.

“People are buying the kegs for themselves at home,” Woodske said. “If you’re a barfly you might think, ‘I never see those beers anymore, so they must not be doing well,’ but it’s the opposite, I really can’t get out enough beer to distribute to the bars.”

He would be able to produce more beer from the bigger site in Beaver Falls, though much of it would be sold in the attached brewpub.

Beer would be the focus, though there would be a food menu, too. Pennsylvania brewpubs also can sell Pennsylvania wines.

Woodske picked the Beaver Falls location because the building was affordable, and there’s easy access to Route 376 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which could extend the brewery’s appeal towards Youngstown and Cranberry Township.

“I think it would be a nice facility with everything I’ve heard,” Beaver Falls city administrator Stephen Johnson said. “I don’t feel there’d be a lot of problems like you’d see at a nuisance bar.”

Johnson said, “We look forward to having good businesses open here, ones that plan on staying in town for a while.”