New Allusion microbrewery to open in Vandergrift early next year
It took years to perfect a much needed new brew for Vandergrift: Allusion Brewing Company has bought a building at 143 Grant Ave. with plans to open a microbrewery and tap room early next year.
Allusion closed on the building last week, buying it for about $15,000 from the Vandergrift Improvement Program (VIP), according to Robert Buchanan, one of four partners who have been brewing beer since 2013.
The brewers had contacts in Vandergrift, setting their eyes on a VIP building, but first had to win a borough variance last year to locate the brewery on Grant Avenue.
“We love the town,” Buchanan said.
“We see the trend of people wanting to get away from the big city and get into the small towns,” he said. “We’ve been to several events where they shut down Grant Avenue and thousands of people come. It’s amazing, and we want to be a part of that.”
Buchanan added that the purchase of the VIP building was contingent on improvements worth many times the building’s current value.
VIP saw a huge advantage in bringing a brewery to town, according to Mary Jo Riddle, VIP’s chairwoman of the economic vitality committee.
The nonprofit development group worked with Buchanan through the approval process of the borough variance as well as other time-consuming hurdles.
“Breweries draw people from all over the region to your town,” Riddle said. “Our goal is to show people the beauty of Vandergrift. Our economic growth can be impacted by a brewery whose patrons will likely visit other businesses.”
Work will soon begin leveling the floor of the 100-plus-year-old building to make way for the brewing equipment, according to Buchanan.
Their brewing system will be capable of producing five barrels at a time. Once progress has been made in installing and ordering the system, only then can Allusion apply for its federal and state licenses for brewing beer, according to Buchanan. “It seems backwards, but you have to have your equipment on the way and facilities ready,” he said.
Patrons will be able to see the brewing operations from a large window in the tap room featuring seating and a lounge, Buchanan said. The building’s front room will include a bar and limited seating.
Allusion will offer five regular varieties of beers year-round along with three other varieties that will be rotated, including seasonal and experimental brews.
“The one thing I hope will create buzz is the experimental beer with small batches, which will only be available in the tap room,” Buchanan said.
Allusion already has about a dozen commercial clients lined up to receive its beer, according to Buchanan.
Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter .