Success in business often brings about unanticipated quandaries.
That was the case for Victory Brewing Co. founders Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski when a banner 2011 forced them to decide whether they should expand operations beyond their original facility in Downingtown, home since opening in 1996.
“We saw tremendous growth in 2011, and our plans to maybe need something in 2014 or ’15, we basically lost a year,” Barchet said. “We were able to brew 105,000 barrels in Downingtown, and there was no room to grow. Either we could stop growing, retract markets or roll the dice and make a really big plant.”
They went with the big plant. In July of last year, construction began at the chosen site, a 140,000-square-foot space in an industrial center in the 3100 block of Lower Valley Road in Parkesburg. The $30 million project price tag was just one of many considerations.
“It was a major decision,” Barchet said. “We are setting ourselves back profit-wise for five years doing this, so it was a big question.”
In the end, the final call came with some market-based math. When Barchet and Covaleski started analyzing craft beer’s place in the overall U.S. beer marketplace, it was at 5 percent of total sales. Solicited projections indicated a possible jump to 15 percent over the next decade.
“It took us to that simple equation to be comfortable,” Covaleski said. “We figured we should be able to build a brewery three times as big, so that’s what we’re doing.”