Partners ‘hop’ to open new Ephrata brewery

By on January 17, 2018

Craft beer lovers could soon have a new source of suds in the borough.

Pour Man’s Brewing Co. plans to open a brewery and taproom in space adjoining Rita’s Italian Ice on state Route 272. The Ephrata Zoning Board is scheduled to review the application at the Wednesday, Jan. 17, meeting.

Home brewer and Pour Man’s co-owner Ryan Foltz said he preferred to wait until after the hearing to discuss plans to brew and sell beer from what is now a vacant commercial space.

The plan he submitted to the zoning office in mid-December calls for the brew pub/tavern to be open three days a week — Monday and Friday evenings until 9 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“Our goal is not to be a late night bar or night club but instead to be a place beer lovers can visit for a taste of our beer and purchase to also take home for later consumption,” according to the impact statement included in the application.

It specifies there will be no outdoor seating or late hours, so as to reduce any noise. The tan stucco building at 284 S. Reading Road is connected to Rita’s and will share the approximately 40-space parking lot.

The building is in a highway commercial district and the borough code states that a tavern or nightclub is considered a special exception use. The zoning board’s 7 p.m. hearing in council chambers will determine if that exception will be granted.

The plan calls for Pour Man’s to apply for a brewer’s license with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. PLCB spokesman Shawn Kelly said the board doesn’t have a brewer’s license filing for Pour Man’s or for the address listed for the planned business. The PLCB license filing fee is $700 for a brewery and the annual license costs $1,425.

The PLCB website lists two other active brewery pub licenses in Ephrata Borough — St. Boniface Craft Brewing Co. at 1701 W. Main St. that opened in 2010 and Black Forest Brewery at 301 W. Main. St. Black Forest opened in 2014 and is located behind the 1777 Americana Inn Bed & Breakfast. Both breweries also sell food.

Pour Man’s zoning application doesn’t mention offering food but says the brewery will sell beer for on-site consumption and beer to go in 64-ounce glass growlers and 32-ounce aluminum cans called crowlers. The applications says the only odor from the business will be the steam from brewing beer and that it will be minimal. The plan calls for two brewing spaces and a fermenting room.

Pour Man’s Facebook page describes it as a “start up brewery making the change from home brewing to commercial brewing.” The posts mention brews called Penny Pinchin Ale and Goin’ Broke IPA. The IPA earned third place overall at the 2016 Lititz Craft Beer Fest.

A March 2016 posting invited people to stop into the brewer’s garage in Ephrata for free beer because “we have been brewing a lot of test batches lately and to be honest we shouldn’t drink it all ourselves!”

Frederick B. and Doris M. Plowfield of the rural Lititz area own the Ephrata building where the planned brewery would operate. They wrote in a Dec. 11 letter to the zoning board that they entered into a lease with Pour Man’s Brewing that has their permission to brew and sell beer at the location.

High Associates’ realty sign in front of the building lists the 3,159-square foot space for office or retail use. It previously housed a thrift store called On Second Thought that had opened in 2014. The brewery zoning hearing notice is posted outside the building.

Pour Man’s application says the business will add handicap accessible restrooms, paint and remodel the interior and build a bar and seating. The plan calls for exterior painting and adding signage. The application says the three brewery owners will handle business operations but it doesn’t list the other two owners’ names besides Foltz.

If you go:

Ephrata Zoning Board hearing

Borough building council chambers, 124 S. State St., Ephrata

Time: 7 p.m., Jan. 17


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