Plans are brewing to establish a new craft beer business in York.
Three Spring Grove alumni are eyeing space at the former Met-Ed steam plant at 147 W. Philadelphia St. in the city, hoping it will become the new home for their microbrewery.
Jesse James DeSalvo, Ashley Garvick and Ryan Johnstonbaugh, the owners of Crystal Ball Brewing, have hired Murphy and Dittenhafer Inc. architects to conduct a feasibility plan that will help them fulfill their dream of opening a 15-barrel brewhouse downtown in a 4,500-square-foot section of the old power plant, Johnstonbaugh said.
"I love beer. It's a passion we all have, and we want to share that with everyone," he said.
Garvick and Johnstonbaugh, who graduated from Spring Grove High School in 1999, and DeSalvo, who graduated in 2000, shared their beers during the York Homebrew Fest two weeks ago.
By next year's Homebrew Fest, the owners expect Crystal Ball Brewing will be open in the city.
"I want to be part of downtown. York is home," Johnstonbaugh said.
The site: Since Met-Ed's steam plant operations shut down in the late 1970s, the facility has hosted a number of companies.
"It's one of the largest properties in York," said David Keech, a realtor with Rock Commercial Real Estate.
The property includes three buildings across more than 35,000 square feet in the city at the corner of Philadelphia Street and Pershing Avenue, and it's currently home to York Framing, Verizon and a York County service center.
It's a great location, he said, because it's just off the south end of the Northwest Triangle redevelopment project, a 5-acre plan hatched years ago to revamp the city and complement the new Sovereign Bank Stadium.
Crystal Ball Brewing will
add to that growth downtown, but progress certainly doesn't rest on his brewery's barrels, Johnstonbaugh said.
"Mudhook and Liquid Hero really cracked the market for us ... and made it flourish," he said.
Anchoring Central Market, Mudhook Brewing Co. is a brewpub at 34 N. Cherry Lane. And Liquid Hero Brewery, at 50 E. North St. across from Sovereign Bank Stadium, just expanded its operations to begin serving pints in addition to barrels.
"The growth of Mudhook and Liquid Hero prove people in York County are fans of craft beer and want different options," said Chad Myers, downtown business development liaison for Downtown Inc.
Matt DePrato, co-owner of Liquid Hero, said variety is the allure.
"With craft beer, there's something out there for everyone," he said. "From light wheats to dark porters to stouts to IPAs and hop beers, there's so much flavor and variety."
That a new brewer is moving into town is only good news for York's craft beer business, he said.
"Because there's so much variety, there's no competition," he said.
The owners of Liquid Hero have a good relationship with the guys at Mudhook, and always have customers who have just been to each other's places, DePrato said. Adding another brewer into the mix will only increase foot traffic, he said.
"The average craft beer drinker is always looking for the next beer they never tried, something new," he said.
-- Candy Woodall can also be reached at email@example.com.