Why New Markets Don’t Have to be a Part of Growth Strategy

Erie Brewing is looking at growth strategy through expansion a little different than at first glance. Using that term usually means a brewery is growing in size to expand into new areas. Instead of broadening its reach the Pennsylvania-based brewery is strengthening its ties to the four other states it’s in while increasing its potential capacity to more than 14,000 barrels.

The brewery will open a new facility in Erie that will double its square footage while increasing capacity and improving quality. It will open up more room for consumers to visit on site while helping expand the brand within its current territory.

“We want to continue generating enthusiasm and demand for our product,” said owner and general manager Rob Lowther. “We are already seeing that our reputation has changed over the last four years and business is the best we have seen in our local market in the history of the brewery. Individuals are starting to recognize that we are providing high-quality products and products that have won regional awards as well as local awards.”

Erie has been operating out of a leased facility that is just a tad more than 9,000 square feet, including a taproom that only held about 15 guests which Lowther said limited the brewery and didn’t offer it the opportunity to expand.


“We exhausted our search of looking for buildings that we could purchase and renovate, so we finally decided to go with a new location that we would want that would provide customers to be comfortable with easy access to get to as well as good visibility,” he said.

Plans for the new building are set for it to be open in April. The foot traffic alone is something that was on Lowther’s wish list in growth.

“[We wanted to have] a brew pub area with ample space where people would be comfortable and we would have the space to have large gatherings and private parties,” he said, noting that a pizzeria will also be operating in the new facility along with a 3,000 square foot mezzanine and an open porch on the front of the brewpub with a gift shop. “I am most excited for having a facility that is professional with the space for customers to enjoy coming in.”

Adding equipment that will provide the brewery and its team greater flexibility in brewing is also a plus for the taproom as new Master Brewer, Shaun Carney, will be able to add small-batch creations (such as the already created “Cherry Bomb” kettle-soured Blonde Ale) because of an increase in the variety of different size tanks. In addition, Erie is purchasing a whirlpool and quite a bit of calibration and testing equipment all related to its quality program to ensure consistency in the quality of product.

“[This expansion is] not so much market expansion as it is reach within the markets that we are already distributing in,” Lowther said. “[We are] are anxious [for consumers] to come back with their family and friends and see us again.”

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