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Westmoreland

Jeannette's Gillespie Building to get new life as microbrewery retail site

Stephen Huba
| Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, 1:54 p.m.
The former Gillespie Building in downtown Jeannette, future home of Sobel’s Obscure Brewery.
Westmoreland County Land Bank
The former Gillespie Building in downtown Jeannette, future home of Sobel’s Obscure Brewery.

A local wholesale brewery plans to put down roots in downtown Jeannette now that it has bought the former Gillespie Building on Clay Avenue.

The Westmoreland County Land Bank announced the sale of the property to Sobel’s Obscure Brewery LLC of Hempfield but did not disclose a purchase price.

The 12,000-square-foot building, at the corner of Clay Avenue and South Fifth Street, will be home to the microbrewery’s new retail location. It will have a tap room featuring 17 custom beers, an on-site brewery, live entertainment and weekend food trucks.

The family-owned brewery, founded in 2012, expects to complete interior renovation of the building and move in by fall 2019.

“We will be taking advantage of the beautiful architecture that is already there and add our creative twist to it,” owner David Sobel said.

Sobel’s Obscure Brewery, which goes by S.O.B., started selling its product commercially in June 2017, building up a distribution network spanning 34 counties. It then set its sights on a retail location.

“By opening a brewery and tasting room in Jeannette, we think our goal of local brand recognition will be achieved,” chief operating officer Jackie Sobel said.

The Land Bank acquired the building, former home of the M.A. Gillespie Co., in 2012 and started making “stabilization improvements” such as roof and window repairs. The improvements were funded by private foundation grants totaling $14,000, said spokeswoman Shelby Michalek.

The Land Bank also acquired an adjoining structure and lot for future expansion needs of the brewery, including year-round patio seating for patrons.

“We are very excited for the new plans for the former Gillespie Building,” said Jeannette Mayor Curtis Antoniak. “It is one of several developments that will continue to spark life into our community.”

The brewery worked with Saint Vincent College’s Small Business Development Center to develop a business plan for the retail site.

“The growth of the craft brewing industry within Westmoreland County has been a plus for economic development,” said Tim Bates, Saint Vincent business consultant. “It has been a wonderful experience working with the entrepreneurial-minded Sobel family on developing and implementing their business plan.”

The downtown site will include guest taps featuring local breweries, as well as products from wineries and distilleries.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, shuba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shuba_trib.

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