1/31/05: Emerson Haines, planned brewer and driving force behind Destiny Brewing:
I talked briefly to Emerson Haines yesterday (1/31/05) about the Destiny brewpub heís working on opening in Phoenixville. Emerson is plain-spoken, a Pennsylvania native, and his story sounds like a classic small business start-up. The brewpub won't be open till late spring, but things are rolling along.
Lew: I heard you were a homebrewer, right?
Emerson: Yes, Iíve been a homebrewer for about, oh, 15 years.
Where are you from?
Iím originally from West Chester, but I live in the Lancaster area, a town called Willow Street.
I know it well; I had a great-aunt who lived there.
Okay! Iíve been living in the Lancaster area for around 20 years.
So I have to ask...why Phoenixville?
Well, I have a fraternity brother, Tim Kelly, whoís from Phoenixville. He lives in West Chester. He knew I was interested in a brewpub, and he was looking for a real estate investment. When he bought the old Moose Lodge, he kind of had me in the back of his mind. Iíll be renting most of the building.
How many floors are there? Thereís a lot of room, right?
Right. Two floors and a basement. The buildingís cool, built in 1917. Timís committed to bringing it back to its former glory. The place is huge. Thereís a third floor thatís empty right now. The brewpubís going to be in the basement, itís a great basement. The first floor will be a grille, similar to a Fuddruckerís, but with beer. Tim will be running the grille.
What are you brewing on?
Iíve pieced together wine-making equipment. My brewkettle is an old 200-gallon bakery pot. Hey, as long as it boils wort, right?
Right! 200 gallons, thatís a bit under 6 barrels?
Iím doing four-barrel batches. Iím using the wine fermenters. I hope to have 7 beers on tap. Thereíll be two mainstream beers, a light beer and a golden ale, for the mainstream drinkers. Gotta have them covered. Weíll have those two upstairs in the grille as well. Then downstairs, weíll have a pale ale, an IPA, an ESB, and a stout, and the specialties, the seasonals. Plus weíll have two beer engines. Whenever I make a batch, Iíll pull off a couple of kegs for conditioning.
When did you hope to open?
The original goal was April 1. If everything falls together perfectly, we could still hit it. More realistically? May or June.
I have to ask: youíre going up against two good brewpubs in Phoenixville. Sly Fox is already established, and Iron Hill will be opening in town.
Thatís a plus. I look at that as a plus. Weíll be different than they are. Theyíll pull business into the area; Phoenixville will be the place to go for a brew. People will be able to come to town and hit two or three different places. Iím not worried about it.
Good attitude! Good luck to you, Emerson.
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