Local Businesses Have Thirst For Success In Down Economy

EXETER TWP., Pa. - Business plans that have been brewing for a while are coming to fruition, and business owners are crediting a not-so-secret ingredient for success.

Sly Fox Brewery has long been a fixture in Royersford, Montgomery County until the beer company's business overflowed.

"We are bumping up against our capacity, and that's why we had to make the move," explained Sly Fox co-owner John Giannopoulos.

Corporate offices are already up and running at the new building at 331 Circle of Progress in Pottstown, Montgomery County.

By expanding their small brewery, brothers Pete and John Giannopoulos said they hope they can keep up with the demand.

They're investing $6 million into the Pottstown location. They're also leaving room for more growth, including new Sly Fox employees.

"Ten, 20, 30 [new hires] depending on how fast we're able to grow," said Pete Giannopoulos.

The goal is to triple production at Sly Fox.

"We're fortunate to be part of the craft brewing industry as a whole," John Giannopoulos explained. "That industry, that segment of alcohol, is the only part of the alcohol segment that's growing."

Craft beers or micro-brews refer to a small, but growing sect of the beer industry. They're typically made by independent companies.

At Sly Fox, they've seen the beer boom to the tune of 30 to 40 percent growth for the past four years.

"There's a lot of enthusiasm about the craft beer in general right now," agreed Tony Reber, manager of the Liberty Tap Room in Exeter Township, Berks County.

The new restaurant in the old Chat-a-While Inn boasts more than 400 beers and opened quietly Monday to a full house.

The owners have a similar spot in Allentown, the Tavern on Liberty, which has seen enough success to warrant the expansion into Berks.

"Business has just been increasing a ridiculous pace," Reber said.

Both Reber and the Giannopoulos brothers said the craft beers boast quality versus quantity. These two local businesses are happy to keep trying to quench that refined thirst in an economy that has other businesses drying up.

"We seem to be very fortunate," said Pete Giannopoulos. "We have virtually no advertising budget, per se. We have to rely on good will and word of mouth."

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Allentown, PA 18102




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