Several years of work and planning at the Lebanon Valley Craft Brewery have finally begun to bear fruit – or beer, in this case.
The brewery began distributing its six flagship beers to local pubs and retail outlets earlier this year. The next milestone for the brewery stationed at 840 N. 7th St., Lebanon, will involve the opening of a brewpub this summer, according to director of brewery operations Mike Osborne.
Osborne is one of four co-founders who began working together on the business about four years ago. Along with Dave Koch, Kevin Booth, and Henry Goodwin, Osborne has spent the time getting the brewery set up and in working condition. “It’s been a slow process, but we want to get everything right,” he explained.
“Once the pub is open, that’ll kind of be the focus,” Osborne continued, who estimated the opening of the pub to be in June. “We’ll always be distributing, but it was never our intention to go into five states. I knew it wasn’t going to be a big distribution, but we did want to get it around the county.”
With the milestone of local distribution behind them, LVCB has joined a tradition of brewing in Lebanon that has continued for hundreds of years. In fact, the brewery is housed inside the same building that hosted a succession of historic breweries dating back to 1856.
Though the building includes around six levels, including a tower and a room carved underneath the adjacent hillside, LVCB is currently only using the first floor and the underlying basement. The first floor is home to a series of gleaming copper-plated tanks, part of a brewing system purchased from Five Seasons Brewing in Atlanta, Georgia. The rest of the system, including fermenter and brite tanks as well as the 12-ounce bottling line, is kept in the expansive basement.
LVCB uses a 15-barrel system, meaning that 15 barrels of beer (each one containing 31 gallons) can be processed at a time. Osborne, who’s been in the brewing business since the 1990s, has developed all of his recipes around the capacity of this system, which is common in the industry. At some point, Osborne hopes to install 30-barrel components so that two recipes can be held simultaneously.
The brewery is currently working on six flagship beers along with seasonal varieties and scratch series. As described by the brewery’s beer page, these include a Dortmunder-style lager, an American pale ale, an Irish red ale, an American-style stout, a Bavarian-style hefeweizen, and a New England-style IPA. Updates on these beers and where the brewery is taking them are regularly posted on the LVCB Facebook page.
The pub will be situated next to the tanks on the first floor.
“People can come in, and if I’m brewing, they can see me working on the operation,” Osborne said. Food trucks will provide something to eat in the summer, though an in-house kitchen is planned eventually.
If all goes well, more additions to the LVCB operation will be in the works. Osborne stated that “there’s room for expansion” inside and outside of the building. The original boiler house, a separate building behind the brewery, will be made into an outdoor bar, and Osborne suggested that a rooftop garden might even appear at some point down the line.
For now though, LVCB is taking an approach to its business in the same way it brews beers: steady, contained, and focused on producing one result at a time.
Written and produced with thanks to Chris Coyle.
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