Penn Brewery Sold to Local Businessman, as Current Owners Plan to Retire
Stefan Nitsch, born in Austria, plans to introduce some experimental products and ideas to the Troy Hill brewery.
It’s the end of an era for a local brewery, but when one door closes, another opens.
Penn Brewery has been brewing classic lagers and German beer styles in Pittsburgh since 1986, making it the oldest and largest brewery in Pittsburgh and one of the oldest craft breweries in the U.S. But its owners, Sandy Cindrich, Corey Little and Linda Nyman, announced this week via social media that they plan to sell the business to Pittsburgh-based businessman and owner of Arkham Realty Stefan Nitsch. Cindrich, Little and Nyman plan to retire.
“I’m a huge fan of Penn’s ‘Euro-Pittsburgh’ branding and look forward to bringing it to the next generation of Penn consumers,” Nitsch said in a Facebook post from the Troy Hill brewery, located at 800 Vinial St.
Nitsch, who spent his childhood in Austria and Switzerland and moved to Pittsburgh when he was about 10 years old, added on his personal Facebook page that Penn’s fare reminded him of his homeland.
“I’ve been a fan of Penn Brewery since my dad took me there for my first American Oktoberfest. I was 10 years old and had just moved to Pittsburgh from Austria,” he wrote.
He had also leased an office on the third floor of Penn Brewery when he was branching out on his own as a real estate broker and working to establish Arkham Reality, which allowed him to connect with the owners and staff.
“One of the owners … provided a custom build-out and we quickly formed a bond. The staff of the building, brewery and restaurant became my second family and it felt like a home away from home,” he wrote. “After 5 years of being a tenant, discussions arose for me to purchase Penn Brewery and I knew I needed to make it happen.”
Cindrich added on Penn’s Facebook page that it’s important for the Pittsburgh staple to remain local, especially at a time when so many breweries are being eaten up by big companies.
“In an era when so many small and mid-sized breweries are being bought up by large corporate entities, it was critical that as a ‘quintessentially Pittsburgh’ institution, Penn Brewery remain locally based and independently owned,” she said.
Nitsch plans to introduce some experimental products and ideas, as well as collaborations with other Pittsburgh businesses and a focus on live music and community events. He will own both the Troy Hill location and its outpost in Pittsburgh International Airport.