‘Can’onizing Saint Boniface

By on July 30, 2014

The craft brewer’s ambitious expansion includes a canning line. But don’t expect TVs.

Saint Boniface Craft Brewery Co. is expanding brew capacity, production, distribution and the size of its brew pub at 1701 W. Main St. in Ephrata.!!!Saint B

Co-owner Michael Price said Tuesday that he expects to install new fermentation tanks by the end of August and additional brewing equipment, including a canning line, by mid September.

“Hopefully we’ll be up and running by October and out to bars and distributors,” Price said.

Saint Boniface currently brews only kegs and serves beer in pints and growlers at the tap room.

But it’s also served on tap at select restaurants such as the Bull’s Head in Lititz, Canal Street Pub in Reading, and the Black Horse in East Cocalico.

Price said Saint Boniface will initially can only two beers, its Double IPA and Paideia Pale Ale.

“We’re also planning on limited bottling but we’re not getting a bottling line,” Price said. “So it’s not going to be full-scale production — we’ll probably do bottling here and there.”

The business holds one of 17 manufacturer malt beverage licenses in Lancaster County as well as a brew-pub license from Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Saint Boniface, which had leased half of its neighboring building for its brew house, will now use the entire space. Brewing capacity had been limited to only three barrels at a time.

“We’ll expand the brew house production from three barrels at a time to 15,” Price said. “It will take a lot less time too — we’ll do 15 barrels in the same time it takes to do three.”

Saint Boniface has applied to PLCB to expand its brew pub service area to include an outside patio. The expansion will increase its pub by about 2,500 square feet essentially doubling the size of the business to about 5,000 square feet, Price said.

Price, along with co-owners Dain Shirey and Jon Northup, the master brewer who built the brewing operation they currently use, have helped the Saint Boniface brand take off since the tap room opened last July.

The company in early 2011 began St. Boniface in a warehouse that had been part of the former Donecker’s Artworks complex. They moved in February 2013 to the spot along Route 322. Its featured brews include Libation, Double IPA, Paidiea Pale Ale, Hegemony Stout, and 3lb IPA.

Saint Boniface is among 84 brewers from across the Mid-Atlantic invited to Saturday’s Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp Across America at Philadelphia’s Penn Treaty Park from noon to 5 p.m.

Billed as the biggest celebration of craft beer in history, it celebrates Sierra founder Ken Grossmanhas’ opening of his first east coast brewery. He invited all 2,700 U.S. craft breweries to participate in a cross-country beer festival that makes one of just seven stops in Philadelphia.

“We’re very honored to be taking part,” Price said.

The Saint Boniface expansion, which received an Ephrata Borough building permit June 14 and PLCB approval July 23, doesn’t include adding televisions to the brew pub.

Price said he favors the idea of bringing in TVs for special events like the Super Bowl.

“It’s like everything else, half the people want (TVs) and half don’t,” Price said. “I don’t want to become a sports bar, but it’s something we haven’t talked about much.”

At Saint Boniface it’s clearly all about the beer.

Patrick Burns is senior staff writer for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455

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