ST. MARYS — Straub Brewery’s new Visitor Center and Tap Room has been drawing in locals and eternal-tap tourists since its soft opening June 19.
The Visitor Center and Tap Room at 444 Brusselles St. is located just below Straub Brewery on Sorg Street, and held its all-day grand opening and ribbon cutting July 19.
The 100-plus-year-old brick house, originally built by Straub brothers Anthony and Joseph, extends into the garage, now the bar area, said Vice President of Sales and Marketing Cathy Lenze.
Straub Brewery President and Chief Executive Officer William (Bill) Brock said he has watched the beer industry change a lot over the years. With the influx of visitors in the Pennsylvania Wilds, a sit-down location like this was necessary.
The tap room is also a way to connect people to the brewery and offer tours of the eternal tap and production process, Brock said.
The facility is “open and welcoming,” Brock said, with an outdoor beer garden and inside bar area and visitor center.
In order to make the brewery and tap room like a “campus,” Brock said, they purchased many of the homes around it.
“We want to continue to develop the campus,” he said. “It’s a way to see the area and we’re proud of it. We are trying to improve the quality of life here.”
After moving around a lot, Brock made the decision to return to his hometown of St. Marys after 25 years, he said.
The concept for the tap room originated five years ago, Brock said. What is now the bar was once a garage and his great uncle’s shop.
Brock said it was exciting to see how many people of a variety of ages attended the grand opening.
The visitor center part of the venue includes historical photos of Straub founders and family members, as well as products like Staub memorabilia, grilling sauces and books. The venue exhibits rustic woodwork with modern additions.
Food-wise, the tap rooms started with appetizers and lunches, and is now starting to roll out a dinner menu, Brock said. All the food is locally-sourced, and Bradd Celidonia is the head chef.
The goal is to promote not just St. Marys, but the region as a whole, connecting the dots to other local places, he said.
“We are local and we love local support,” Brock said. “You don’t have to leave the region for these things.”
Even the production of the new tap room used local contractors and wood from Straub Bear Run.
Future plans for the campus include a pet-friendly area with a 20-by-40-foot canopy in the grassy area, as well as a gas fire pit for gatherings, Lenze said. Music festivals and other events will be held in the future.
Additions to the new tap room will be a “step-by-step” process, Brock said, after receiving feedback from customers and seeing what they respond to.
For more information, visit www.straubbeer.com or the tap room on Facebook.