By Fran Maye
Victory Brewing Co., a nationally recognized brewing firm, is coming to Kennett Square.
Officials of Victory this week signed a lease with Kennett Square Realty to develop an upscale brew pub with on-site brewing and takeout beer, and will occupy all 8,234 square feet of the bottom floor of a four-story, luxury apartment building located near West Cypress Street and Mill Road.
“I’m really excited about this,” said Dan Maffei, council president. “(Victory) could have chosen anywhere, but they chose our town. People are really starting to take notice of Kennett Square.”
Victory is planning to add more than 100 employees and plans to open by late spring of 2014, according to Matt Krueger, vice president of retail operations.
“This a culmination of nearly a year’s worth of planning and effort, and we couldn’t be more excited than we are today to finally confirm for our excited fans, who have been asking, that yes we are in fact headed to Kennett,” said Krueger. “Kennett is a great town. It was voted as one of the top 10 coolest small towns in the country, and the people are friendly. It just seemed like a natural fit.”
Brant Kucera, borough manager, said the decision for Victory Brewing Co. to locate in Kennett Square will have significant financial advantages.
“This will have a very large impact on the property tax base in the borough,” he said. “It is good news for residents. We had a piece of property that was blighted and by putting in a large scale development will have a huge financial impact.”
Called Victory at Magnolia, the location will accommodate a 250-seat restaurant with space for outdoor dining, and boast a chef inspired menu, featuring some of the company’s signature dishes, including their Hand Tossed Pretzel and Wings of Victory. The space also will be equipped with a five-barrel brew house to keep new, site-specific brews—along with Victory’s existing lineup of world-class ales and lagers—flowing.
“This place will have all beers we currently make at our Downingtown location, and we will have 30 different flavors on tap,” Krueger said. “We’ll have one beer specifically made for Kennett Square. We want to replicate our family oriented establishment we have in Downingtown, but our menu will be different. I think this will be a huge draw for Kennett Square.”
Because the Kennett establishment will be about the same size as the Downingtown facility, Krueger said he is expecting to draw about 1,000 customers per day.
There will be 33 luxury apartments located just above the planned brew pub, and there will be 30 on-site parking spots, with more available on-street.
Krueger said patrons will have just a few minute walk to Kennett Square’s main business district.
“We feel this will add to the flavor of Kennett Square,” said Mary Hutchins, executive president of Historic Kennett Square. “We’ll get crowds from Delaware, and we can’t say enough good things about the people at Victory.”
Mike Pia Jr., owner of the Pia Group which manages Kennett Realty and Kaolin Mushroom Farms and South Mill Mushroom Sales, said he feels the addition of Victory Brewing Co. will “put Kennett Square on the map,” in the same way Genesis and Exelon impacted the borough.
He said other, more lucrative tenants were interested in Magnolia Place, but early in negotiations Victory was favored.
“Early on we removed ourselves with other possible tenants to focus exclusively on Victory because of Victory and what they could mean to the town,” he said. “They focus on the family aspect, and even the hours, they close greatly earlier than a bar would. I’m happy to help bring this to Kennett Square.”
Recently, council passed an ordinance that paved the way for commercial beer establishments to be located in town. Kennett Square is home to many annual festivals that typically draw huge numbers of people.
“I don’t think (Kennett Square) is getting too big,” Maffei said. “I think we need to take advantage of the spaces we have available in town. I think we can get more feathers (in our cap).”
Victory Brewing Co. is the nation’s 26th largest craft brewery headquartered in Downingtown which began operations in 1996.