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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with www.e-malt.com Polish
16 February, 2020

Brewing news USA, PA: Allusion Brewing Co. construction delayed by several weeks

Cold weather and a lack of electricity and heat delayed construction of the Allusion Brewing Co. in Vandergrift by several weeks, TribLIVE reported on February 14.

But work is back on track, and the owners plan to open the microbrewery and tap room in the spring.

Co-owners Robert Buchanan and John Bieranoski, both Western Pennsylvania natives, bought the building from the Vandergrift Improvement Project in September. They began renovations immediately, Buchanan said.

The plan was to open early this year, but difficulties supplying the building with electricity, combined with frigid January temperatures, caused construction delays.

“Nobody could work in this building,” Buchanan said. “It was difficult to get my contractors to stay in here for long, and I couldn’t blame them.”

Before electricity was set up, Buchanan had to bring in propane heaters to keep construction moving.

The building is now heated, and things are coming together. Buchanan was staining the floor of the microbrewery this week in preparation for the installation of equipment that has already started to arrive at the shop. A 300-pound wart chiller arrived Wednesday, and he’s expecting a 1,000-pound glycol chiller to arrive early next week. The main barrels for the brewery are expected to arrive late next week.

When they started, Buchanan said the more-than-100-year-old structure had just one tiny bathroom. The floor was broken up and patched. There was no heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

Buchanan and Bieranoski replaced the floor with a concrete slab, added a second bathroom and are in the process of installing HVAC. He said the microbrewery will have a specific design theme, but — as the papered-over windows would suggest — it’s a surprise for the grand opening.

He estimated that the entire renovation project could cost around $200,000.

Buchanan is excited to revitalize the building. It had been owned by the Vandergrift Improvement Program, a nonprofit economic development group. Buchanan said he and Bieranoski went against the advice of their business advisers at Saint Vincent College to find a more populated, “buzzing” community to set up shop.

“This is what we wanted,” Buchanan said. “Our plan was to find a small, tight-knit Western Pennsylvania community — and Vandergrift has been just overwhelmingly supportive of us.”

With a strong social media following and the support of community members, Buchanan said the goal is to ramp up Vandergrift’s potential tourism value, making it a place people from throughout Western Pennsylvania might visit for a day trip.

“We didn’t have plans to grow for the sake of growth, to be some major distributor,” Buchanan said. “We were more interested in finding a small town that we could be supported by just the local community.”


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