Huntington Bank closed on a deal to provide the final round of financing for the acquisition of Penn Brewery by its founder Tom Pastorius. A few weeks ago, the brewery began making a batch of its flagship brand, Penn Pilsner, but still needed the financing to fully buy out the previous owner, Birchmere Capital.
The bank is joining the Northside Community Development Fund and the Urban Redevelopment Authority in providing the necessary capital to restart the business after Birchmere moved brewing operations to Wilkes-Barre, Pa., in early 2009 and shut down the restaurant in August.
“We’re really excited that we’re able to be a part of it and help Tom restore the brewery,” said Debbie Tawney Newsom, senior community development coordinator at Huntington. “And when people come into town, it’s a nice place to take them. And the jobs are great, because everyone else is downsizing now.”
The resurrected brewery and restaurant, which is not yet open, will provide close to 40 jobs.
Newsom said the need for financing was brought to her attention because Huntington employee Brian Mattas serves on the Fund’s loan review committee.
Pastorius is using funding from the URA for working capital and $300,000 from the Fund to purchase a new bottling line and keg filler. He is importing the keg filler from Bottrop, Germany, and the bottling line from a company called Gai in Italy.
“[Gai is] one of the foremost manufactures of this type of state-of-the-art equipment,” Pastorius said.
Using a system called “double pre-evacuation,” the new bottling line removes the oxygen inside a bottle and replaces it with carbon dioxide twice before the beer goes into the bottle, which improves the shelf life of the beer, Pastorious said.
Beside his three loan partnerships, Pastorius has three other equity investors — Linda Nyman, Sandy Cindric and Cory Little.
After purchasing Sky Bank in 2007, Huntington Bank is quickly emerging as a leader in Northside development and lending. Huntington, headquartered in Columbus, Oh., also partnered with the Fund earlier this summer to provide $300,000 over six years in operational support under a tax credit program.