State aid, local funding helps Straub expand tap room, visitor center at brewery
Gone are the days of the old Eternal Tap at the family-owned Straub Brewery in St. Marys, where one might stand and take a taste of the hand-crafted beers at the end of a tour of the facility because the place lacked amenities such as tables and chairs.
That’s all changed because the independent brewery in the small Elk County town unveiled its new modern tap room and visitor center during a soft opening Wednesday, thanks to a mixture of private and state funding. It still has the Eternal Tap, but the new tap room has food for visitors, in addition to the beers that Straub produces.
Straub Brewery is in the district of Sen. Joseph Scarnati, R-Brockway, who remains in a leadership role as president pro-tempore. That could only have helped the brewery secure a $1 million grant in November 2016 from the State Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. The grant was to be matched by a $1 million project investment from Straub, which has about 30 employees.
The money was for upgrading production, increasing capacity and enhancing the brewery as a destination point for visitors. Making the brewery an attraction for visitors meant upgrading the Eternal Tap area and improving other sections of the brewery, which dates to 1872.
The nonprofit Greensburg- based Progress Fund, which is a community development financial institution, was the designated recipient of the $1 million state grant. The Progress Fund’s craft beverage fund then reimbursed Straub as it paid the construction costs. Straub also tapped the Progress Fund for $1 million, the Progress Fund said in a statement.
The Progress Fund also became part of Straub’s design team which developed the concept of expanding its footprint for a visitor center and tap room. The craft beverage fund made three loans to Straub totaling $344,000 to buy three neighboring properties for the expansion.
The new and improved tap room will have its grand opening July 19.
Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .