Voodoo Brewery set for pop-up pub in New Kensington
Voodoo Brewery’s newest brew pub won’t open at its New Kensington location until this fall. But fans of Voodoo’s craft beer will have a chance to sample some of it Saturday.
While work continues at Voodoo’s newest establishment inside the former Ritz Theater at 956 Fifth Ave., the brewery is opening a pop-up bar in the outdoor space adjacent to the ornate building at the corner of 10th Street and Fifth Avenue.
From 1 to 8 p.m. — or until the beer sells out — a limited draft list will be available. A portion of the proceeds will go to Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley, a no-kill, nonprofit animal shelter in New Kensington.
Parking is available in lots along Barnes Street, directly behind Voodoo’s outdoor setup. In a Facebook post, Voodoo owners suggest bringing a lawn chair if you wish to stay awhile, otherwise the brewery has set up limited seating and standing tables.
“It’s all about giving back and enjoying yourself and saying ‘Hi, we’re Voodoo,’ ” said Jake Voelker, chief operating officer of Voodoo Brewery. “ ‘Thank you for supporting us. Come and ask us questions and familiarize yourself with the space.’
“A big part of what we do here is not just about beer but how we impact local communities,” Voelker said. “The tagline that I have been using, and I get jagged about it sometimes, is that craft beer is really cool, but without a community around it, it’s just beer.”
Voelker and Sue Malcanas, owner/operator of the new Voodoo Brewery in New Kensington, were busy on a sunny Thursday afternoon sprucing up the outdoor space and putting in plants and flowers.
They expect a big turnout Saturday.
Plans call for the outdoor pop-up bar to continue operating on Fridays and Saturdays during the summer, with food trucks and artist exhibitions being featured.
When the brew pub opens in the fall, it will have six year-round draft beers augmented by rotating seasonal and “one-off” beers throughout the year.
It’s all part of a broader effort to revitalize downtown New Kensington.
“We’d like to see the town come back alive,” Malcanas said. “It is a great city. We’ve heard enough good things about it the past couple of years.”
Voelker says Voodoo Brewing is honored to be a part of the revitalization of downtown New Kensington, along with things like the Corridor of Innovation featuring the Penn State New Kensington Entrepreneurial Center.
“It’s so fun for us to come into a community that is ready to have a new spark to change a perception about an area,” Voelker said.
“We have people that come up to us all day and say, ‘I can’t wait for this to open.’
“As for local hiring, we have had tons of resumes from local people who want to work in New Kensington and the Alle-Kiski Valley that may have commuted downtown at one time, and they’re like, ‘Oh — now I have an opportunity to work here.’”
Voodoo Brewery’s other locations are in Homestead, Erie, Grove City, Meadville, Lancaster and State College, with another planned in Washington, D.C., according to its website.
Paul Guggenheimer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or [email protected].