The following feature can be found in the November/December issue of CraftPittsburgh Magazine, available now at your favorite craft beer destinations throughout Pittsburgh!
Using the Brewers Association’s directory as a guide, I counted over 40 breweries in the Pittsburgh region (extending as far north as Erie and as far southeast-ish as Mount Pleasant) currently operating and producing the liquid we love. In addition, there are over a dozen breweries in planning with a handful set to open up in the next few months. As this feature came together, the Pittsburgh region became home to three new craft breweries in the span of a month.
As a beer enthusiast in Pittsburgh, life is good. Craft beer is everywhere. In a world filled with uncertainties, one constant has been and will continue to be the ability to find a tasty, hoppy, malty beverage at every turn. The local brewing scene is overflowing with talent and, one by one, more citizens of the Steel City are gravitating towards artisanal beers and fortifying this rich and lively landscape one heady pint at a time.
The burgeoning progress of the Pittsburgh beer community and the cohesiveness of its constituents provides the perfect backdrop for something the craft beer industry desperately needs: a museum that tells the story of beer. From its rich history to the numerous factors that make beer a living, breathing culture to everyone and everything in between, the impact beer has had on society throughout history is a captivating chronicle worth exploring.
And the crew behind Brew: The Museum of Beer is ready to narrate this chronicle, full pint glasses in hand.
“A national museum dedicated to beer is inevitable in America, considering the recent explosion of interest in beer and the rise of specialty museums,” Joe McAllister, Principal of Brew, stated. “We see Pittsburgh as an ideal city to bring this vision to life.”
Brew: The Museum of Beer will be a destination attraction capable of accommodating 400,000+ visitors per year, 80% of those enthusiasts coming from beyond Pittsburgh. Initial plans for the museum layout include a brewery and restaurant, event space, retail facilities, and a Hall of Fame. The Brew complex will be a 50,000+ square-foot space, anchored by 20,000+ square feet of exhibits dedicated to bringing the history of beer to life.
A museum woven into the fabric of an already-strong craft beer scene will only propel that scene and its city forward. Brew is comparable in scope and demographics to The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and is expected to generate $100+ million per year in new economic impact for Pittsburgh while creating 200+ new full-time jobs.
“Pittsburgh is a city on the rise, poised to become a major tourist destination,” McAllister said. “Brew will have a transformative impact on tourism with broad, national reach that will play an exciting, catalytic role in growing the City of Pittsburgh’s tourism and cultural prestige.”
Overall, Pittsburgh has undergone a storybook transformation over the past couple decades, reinventing itself from its former steel-driven, blue-collar roots to one heavily ensconced in technological and medical innovations. This evolution naturally led to a movement that helped blow the doors wide open for advancements in several areas, including art, education, our exceptional culinary scene and, of course, craft beer and spirits. People demanded more and destinations from one end of town to the other delivered.
The growth of our beer scene is thanks in large part to several long-standing local breweries forging a successful path with beer styles not typically found pouring from taps ten years prior. In addition, local wholesalers and distributors saw the direction beer was headed and started making more artisanal offerings available, both on tap and in bottles for at-home consumption. This elevated beer’s overall profile, making it en vogue to drink IPAs, stouts, hefeweizens, and others not of the domestic, light, adjunct variety. This paved the way for a spike in homebrewing, which saw many talented men and women transform their passionate hobby into a profession, opening breweries in a town thirsty for more quality beers.
As craft beer has evolved across the country and the number of operating breweries surpassed the active number pre-Prohibition, the need for education has reached an all-time high. As much as people demand a quality product, they seek product knowledge and reasons why they enjoy certain styles of beer over another. The rise of programs like the Cicerone Certification Program and the desire for knowledgeable bartenders and servers demonstrates people want to know about the ins and outs of the liquid in their glass. With Brew, education will be at the forefront and beer enthusiasts from all walks of life will have the opportunity to enhance their “beer-ducation” on a wide variety of spectrums.
To see the founding steps of Brew come to fruition, they are currently running an Indiegogo campaign that allows you to contribute in taking this project from concept to reality. Your generous donation will be crucial in bringing America’s first beer museum to the Pittsburgh community. With craft beer popularity being at an all-time high, a museum illustrating how it got to this point is the perfect addition to our city’s thriving craft beer culture.