As part of DOORS OPEN Pittsburgh, an annual two-day event that provides unprecedented access to buildings around the city, we are featuring 20 of the many buildings participating.
Today’s building is the Penn Brewery.
You can take a virtual tour of the brewery right here, brought to you exclusively by Pittsburgh Beautiful!
A Brief History of Penn Brewery
Penn Brewery was originally a contract brewing operation. Until 1989, the brewery made its original product at the Pittsburgh Brewing Company and Jones Brewing Company until 1989. Back then it was known as “Penn Pilsner.” Thomas Pastorius brewed German-style beer in accordance with the strict German Purity Law of 1516. Pastorius saw the need for authentic German food in Pittsburgh and wished to create a beer hall like what he saw during his time in Germany.
Unfortunately, 30+ years ago in the late ’80s, Pennsylvania law didn’t allow such a business. Pastorius ended up lobbying for a change and got it. On Sept. 12, 1989 Penn Brewery opened (it was called Allegheny Brewpub back then). Former mayor Sophie Masloff and former PA governor Bob Casey tapped the first keg.
In 2003, Birchmere Capital LP bought a stake in the brewery. Six years later, Birchmere ended beer production at the brewery and laid off eight of 10 employees there. Production became outsourced to a brewery in Wilkes-Barre. The restaurant nearly closed in Feb. 2009 but an agreement allowed it five more years.
More drama ensued—in August of that same year, Birchmere announced the definite closing of the Penn Brewery Restaurant. Three months later, on November 23, Penn Brewery announced a small group of local investors acquired the brewery from Birchmere and the original owner would return and restart operations. Brewing started back up again in early December and the restaurant re-opened later that month.
Two years later, Pittsburgh Magazine named Penn Brewery one of its favorites in the city.
For tickets to this outstanding event, you can visit Doors Open Pittsburgh here.
Buildings already featured here on Pittsburgh Beautiful: