Boston’s Night Shift building in Philly

A big, new player is moving into Philly Beer World: Night Shift Brewing, a fast-growing brewer out of Massachusetts. The company is planning to develop the former Penn Beer distribution warehouse on Domino Lane in the Roxborough section of the city as a brewery with a tasting room.

Though no details have been released, site plans show it has the potential to be huge, by craft beer standards. The entire facility is about 140,000 square feet – or the size of Yards’ brewery on Spring Garden Street and the massive Workhorse facility in King of Prussia, combined.

Theoretically, that’s at least enough space to produce a half-million barrels annually. As little as seven years ago, Night Shift was brewing on a 3.5-barrel system and bottling its beer by hand. Currently, it makes about 50,000 barrels a year out of two locations around Boston, plus a contracting arrangement with Smuttynose Brewing.

While Night Shift is known for a wide assortment of new releases, it focuses on a handful of brands for wider distribution, including Santilli IPA, The 87 double IPA and Whirlpool pale ale.

A representative of the property’s owner told a community meeting this week that the project would include a 10,000-square foot tasting room that’s about the size of the Yards’ 280-seat restaurant on Spring Garden Street. Asked how long before the brewery was up and running, he said, “Certainly not this year.”

So, why come to Philly? Turns out Night Shift has a local connection: Two of the company’s founders grew up in the city and one of them attended Philadelphia University.

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You might know that Anchor Brewing long ago claimed trademark rights to “Steam Beer,” though the old-time hybrid method of brewing is a widely recognized as generic beer style. The trademark eventually led competitors and others to rename the style as “California Common.”

What you may not know is that D.G. Yuengling & Sons, America’s oldest brewery, operated the James River Steam Brewery in Richmond, Va., until 1879. It was a big deal, and today its tunnels are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Yuengling held onto the steam brewery’s trademark until 2008, according to the Libation Law Blog. Last year, it filed to revive the trademark which – not surprisingly – prompted lawyers for Anchor Brewing to file an objection.

Stay tuned (and h/t to Inspector Bob Benash for the heads up).

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Speaking of Yuengling, America’s oldest beer maker plans to build a hotel – yes, a hotel – near its Tampa brewery. The 200-room beer-themed facility will include a small brewhouse, beer garden, tasting room and restaurant. Sounds like it’ll be an instant attraction for Phillies fans who flock to the region each year for spring training baseball…

The planned Larimer Brewery in Chester is teaming up with Evil Genius Brewing for bus rides to Philadelphia Union soccer games. Grab the bus in Fishtown for a ride to Larimer (located next to Talen Energy Stadium. Bus tix ($25) include 10 percent off your Evil Genius bill, with a $15 tailgate option. Next game game is June 8… The Adventure Aquarium now has a beer garden where you can drown your boredom while the kids enjoy the fish ‘n critters. Make sure you grab a glass of Flying Fish Watermelon Splash, brewed in honor of the aquarium’s Genny and Button, the friendly resident hippos…

Hollow Earth (Chesco) says it will close its pub in Oxford and sell it as a turnkey operation soon, though it will continue brewing (presumably as a contract operation)… Artifact Brewing (Hatboro, Montco), which hopes to open this summer, has launched Friends of Artifact, to raise funds for its build-out. Support levels, from $10 to $1,000, get you shwag, bottle reserves and more.

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