Mahoning Valley Brewers Tap Their ‘New Normal’

Penguin City Adapts and Expands

Submitted by Aspasia Lyras-Bernacki, co-owner, Penguin City Brewing Co.

Is your business back to normal?

We are not 100% completely back to normal, but we are getting there as vaccines start to roll out and cases start to drop.

A big part of our business relies on the bar and restaurant industry. So, if restrictions are put on them, it affects us. So, we have learned to adapt with those changes when they arise.

What is your “new normal?”

Our new normal has been adapting and taking this time to expand. We are moving from 530 Mahoning Ave. (B&O Station) to 460 E. Federal St. in Downtown Youngstown. We are going from a 10BBL brewhouse to a 20BBL brewhouse, which will double our production. We purchased the old Republic Steel warehouse on Dec. 14, 2020, and are slated to open in Fall of 2021.

How do you Rally Around Small Business?

A big part of our business has always been promoting other businesses. When we opened we never had a physical location, our products were in other establishments, so we always promoted those businesses and continue to do so.

We have many partners that we work with around the Valley and we hope it sets an example of businesses working together. Our latest partnership is Hannah Ferguson, of DOPE Cider House & Winery. She is our first tenant at our new location and she has been looking to start her own business here in Downtown Youngstown.

We are going to help her get into the industry with distribution of her brand DOPE, and we will work on cider / beer collaborations together. It’s all about helping each other out, now more than ever.

Warmer Weather Lets Paladin Make Use of Outdoor Space

Submitted by Abby Chandler, bartender, sales, social media, event coordinator and wife of owner John Chandler, Paladin Brewing

Is your business back to normal?

The team at Paladin include Cassondra Ohlin, bar manager, bartenders Tina Reed and Tina Christine, Abby Chandler, bartender, sales, social media, event coordinator and wife of owner John Chandler, and bartender Clara Chamberlain.

Mostly. With warmer weather and our large outdoor space we are seeing larger crowds again. Keg sales are still down.

What is your “new normal?”

When it comes to in-house events we have to be careful not to let them get too large. Before it would be normal to keep advertising and posting and talking about upcoming events, but now if the interest gets too large we have to stop talking about it so that we don’t get too big of a turnout. That was never a concern before.

How do you Rally Around Small Business?

We have partnerships with Abigail’s Bakery Creations, Rulli Brothers and Penguin City Brewing Co. We are also part of the State Line Brewers Guild. We believe that a rising tide lifts all boats and we all try to support one another as much as possible.

Taproom Business up, Distribution Down for Numbers

Submitted by Brock Beatty, owner and brewer, Numbers Brewing Co.

Is your business back to normal?

No. Our business in the taproom has certainly picked since the first of the year especially with the weather getting nicer and everyone having the ability to use the patio.

However, the distribution of beer is still way down as a result of all of our customers are in the same boat as us and not consuming near the levels of beer that they did prior to COVID.

What is your “new normal?”

Masks, distancing, lesser crowds and decreased distribution. We are certainly hoping for everyone’s sake that things are on the rise.

How do you Rally Around Small Business?

Just that: get out and support your local business community. Order takeout, eat out, go out, return to living life and helping your local community recover and thrive.

Sundog Cellars Invests in Outdoor Space

Submitted by Nicole Ice, co-owner, Sundog Cellars Ciderhouse & Winery

The new Sundog Cellars tasting room is located at 145 Town Center Ave. in the Firestone Farms TownCenter Plaza.

Is your business back to normal?

Our business is not back to normal, but we have adapted to get to as close to normal as possible.

We are moving our tasting room to a new and larger facility with an enormous outdoor patio. Since we do not know when COVID restrictions will be lifted, we invested in creating our new normal with more space.

What is your “new normal?”

Our new normal includes less tables and seating than we would normally have.

How do you Rally Around Small Business?

Since we have been fortunate enough to be able to keep our doors open successfully during the pandemic, we have made an effort to team up with our business neighbors and other businesses in our community to have fun events and support each other.

Pictured at top: Penguin City Brewing Co. co-owners Richard Bernacki and Aspasia Lyras-Bernacki, and Hannah Ferguson, owner of DOPE Cider House & Winery.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.