Penguin City Prepares to Open Brewery, Taproom Downtown

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Penguin City Brewing Co. began renovations last year on what will become its home.

It purchased a former industrial warehouse at 460 E. Federal St. in downtown Youngstown in December 2020 for $575,000 and secured a $2.2 million loan to transform it into a brewery and taproom that is expected to open in May.

The project is being done by A Neider Architecture and Murphy Contracting.

When complete, Penguin City will double its production capacity with a 20-barrel brewhouse and 360 barrels in fermenters and conditioning tanks, which were purchased from Deutsche Beverage Technology for $550,000.

Co-owners Richard Bernacki and Aspasia Lyras-Bernacki join brand manager Michael Pontikos outside the future site of Penguin City Brewing.

“This will help us get our product into other markets in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia,” says Aspasia Lyras-Bernacki, who co-owns the company with her husband, Richard Bernacki. “We will also be installing a $45,000 lab system from Midwest Microbio that will give us full quantitative analysis for quality control.”

As part of its plan to expand its footprint, the  company is in the process of meeting with distributors in Ohio and hopes to pick one by the end of the first quarter.

The taproom at the downtown building will mark the first time Penguin City will operate an in-house area for consumption of its products.

The 10,000-square-toot taproom will have a capacity of 400 people. It will be a full-service bar and seating area, Lyras-Bernacki says. Food trucks will park outside for dining options.

In addition to daily service, the taproom will be used for expos, beer festivals, conventions and other events.

Penguin City’s new home will also have a separate event center that will seat 400. Booking will begin in 2022, Lyras-Bernacki says.

The company announced last year that it will partner with Hannah Ferguson of DOPE Cider House and Winery. Ferguson will lease a 1,000-square-foot area of the building for a small production space and taproom.

“We will be collaborating [with her] on a line of cider ales branded Dope City in 2022,” Lyras-Bernacki says. “We want to support local brewers and we are coming up with training programs, internships and a beer school for 2023.”