A $750,000 expansion fueled in part by funds from the state and the City of Salem will allow Parkway Brewing Company to spread its wings a bit.
The craft brewer will invest that money over the next few years in part to “replace some incredibly old equipment,” said General Manager and Brewmaster Mike Pensinger. That includes replacing a 1965 bottling system (built for soda) with a modern unit; that will create “a more shelf-stable product,” said Pensinger. “Our beers are fantastic, but we want to make sure they stay fantastic on [store] shelves.”
Also growing will be Parkway’s production capacity, with a new pilot system that will enable Pensinger and company to create and brew small batch, one-off beers that will be available in the tap room only, at least initially. That enables Parkway to test market new production beers; it also means they will use more locally and regionally grown Virginia products to use with the beer. “Hops, apples, peaches, honey … agricultural products,” said Pensinger.
Noting that Parkway sends much of its spent grain out to local farmers to feed their livestock, he added that “we need to have the local agri-economy grow also. We want to make sure we start using stuff that they are producing for our beers.”
A state grant through the agriculture department passed to the City of Salem will be matched by the Salem government for a total of $300,000. Parkway will come up with the additional $450,000 over the next four years.
Four and a half years old now, Parkway has expanded its distribution footprint, shipping beer to North Carolina since April. Ohio (July) and West Virginia (September) are on board within the next few months. “Hopefully Maryland and DC [next year],” said Pensinger. Parkway Brewing Company beers (Raven’s Roost, Get Bent IPA etc.) can already be found all over the Commonwealth, he added.