As we celebrate our 25th year milestone in 2021, we pause to reflect on what’s helped us get to this point: a little luck, hard work, commitment to quality, and a focus on innovation. But most importantly, it’s people that have had the most significant impact on our success. Our employees, our families, our communities, and you. Thank you.
Over the last 25 years, we have grown to be a world-renowned craft brewery, and the second largest craft brand family* in our home state of Pennsylvania. We have released iconic beers that have made a significant mark on the craft industry and created lifelong fans. From Prima Pils, HopDevil, and DirtWolf, to Summer Love, and of course the immensely popular Golden Monkey and Sour Monkey. It’s been a lot of fun.
*Source: IRI Armadillo, Pennsylvania-Food Craft Segment, L52 Weeks ending 1.10.21
The story of Victory Brewing Company actually starts on a school bus in 1973 when fifth-graders Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski stepped aboard, on their way to a new school. The two became fast friends and remained so as they grew up and went to college on opposite coasts.
By 1985, Bill and Ron had graduated college and developed an appreciation for good beer. Bill had access to his father’s home brewing equipment and was inspired to explore this hobby. That same year, Bill gave Ron a home brewing kit as a Christmas gift…
Bill and Ron developed their love of brewing, and a friendly sense of ‘rivalry’ grew between the two. The good-natured competition pushed Bill and Ron to become accomplished home brewers, and as they both grew disenchanted with their jobs in the corporate world, they realized they should turn their hobby into a career.
Ron left his job as a financial analyst and started an apprenticeship at Baltimore Brewing Company (BBC), working under a Dutch-born and German-trained brewer named Theo DeGroen. After working there for nearly a year, Ron had the necessary prerequisites to move on to study at the Technical University of Munich at Weihenstephan.
As Ron left to study in Germany, Bill took over his emptied role in Baltimore. While Ron was enhancing his German brewing knowledge, Bill was expanding the line of beers produced at the BBC to include several German specialty beers, many of which went on to win multiple awards at the Great American Beer Festival. After his time at BBC, Bill completed his brewing studies by traveling to Munich, Germany to attend Doemens Institute.
After Ron’s year of education in Munich, he returned stateside and took a role at Old Dominion Brewing Company in Virginia. Over the course of four years as the brewer, then brewmaster, he helped to increase production from 1,500 barrels annually to nearly 15,000.
With the right knowledge, experience and a love for quality beer, on February 15th 1996 (after two years of planning), Bill and Ron opened Victory Brewing Company in what was once a Pepperidge Farm factory.
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