Pittsburgh Brewing Co. is settling into its modern new home of Iron City Beer in East Deer

The makers of Iron City Beer are now brewing on a large scale in the Alle-Kiski Valley.

Pittsburgh Brewing Co. settles into its state-of-the-art brewery in East Deer’s Creighton neighborhood. That’s more than 150,000 square feet. Brandon Mace, Director of Brewing and Quality, watches Thursday as 400 cases of beer per minute go through the automated production line.

“I brew the beer and make sure it’s the highest quality,” Mace said.

Mayes brings more than 26 years of brewing experience to the iconic Pittsburgh Brewing Co., which was founded in 1861.

He moved from Maine to Pittsburgh in 2021 and noticed the Steel City’s penchant for hops.

“I love Pittsburgh. They love their beer. It’s a wonderful, wonderful city,” Mace said.

Iron City beer is the best seller and takes about 21 days to produce a case of it, he said.

Other beers brewed on site include IC Light, Old German and American.

A limited edition Pittsburgh Iron City Bill Cowher Lager is currently being produced, featuring a black and gold image of the Steelers’ Hall of Fame head coach on each can.

Joyce Hantz | Tribune-Review

Pittsburgh Brewing Co. offers a limited edition Pittsburgh Iron City Bill Cowher Lager. Here they are seen whizzing down the production line.

The 42-acre property, once home to the #1 Pittsburgh Plate Glass Works, features state-of-the-art, high-tech brewery equipment along the Allegheny River. The brewery started there in late April and was fully operational in June.

Before April, beer was made in Latrobe.

General manager Todd Zwicker stood Thursday amid gleaming stainless steel brewing tanks — 25 in all — as he touted the highly automated facility.

“Everything is designed and made for this facility in Germany,” Zwicker said. “It’s one of the most automated breweries on the East Coast.”

Workers are needed only to load raw materials and to monitor the machines, which can run 24/7.

Pittsburgh Brewing Co. beers. are sold in a dozen states, most notably in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland.

“I jump out of bed every day,” Zwicker said of what it’s like to work at Pittsburgh Brewing Co.

Zwicker has over 33 years in the beer business.

The company, previously based in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood, closed its plant there in 2008.

The former Pittsburgh Glass Works closed in 2018 and was purchased in 2019 by Cliff Forrest, owner of Kittanning-based Rosebud Mining Co.

The brewery has bragging rights.

“For the city of Pittsburgh, it’s the largest production — about 100,000 barrels a year,” Mace said. “And I’m hoping we’ll see a little bit of a boost now that we’re up and running.”

Cora Marchand of Bethel Park works as a quality assurance technician. She tours the large facility on a company-provided bicycle.

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Joyce Hantz | Tribune-Review

Pittsburgh Brewing Co.’s quality assurance technician. Cora Marchand rides her bike from one area of ​​the facility to another.

One of her jobs is to collect sterile samples of IC Light beer from the testing line.

“We test every beer before it goes into packaging,” Marchand said.

Future plans

Future plans for the brewery, expected to be completed next year, include a community area that will include a store that will sell specialty beers, a restaurant and an outdoor patio area. The company plans to organize brewery tours.

“We’re going to provide jobs to the local community and eventually it’s going to be a tourist attraction,” Mace said.

Additionally, a rye and bourbon warehouse will hold up to 4,000 barrels later this year, which will age for two to four years before being ready for sale.

It will be called Iron City Distillery.

With automation provided by GEA, a German engineering company, the brewery can handle all operations with just 36 employees.

Some people would assume that all Mayes does is drink beer for a living.

“That’s somewhat true, but it’s much more than that. Basically, we are yeast producers,” he said.

Mayes started out as a homebrewer, but has a scientific background.

“It’s incredible. Seeing this from dirt floors (like a dormant glass plant) to stainless steel and automation — it’s pretty breathtaking,” Mace said.

Zwicker did not disclose the exact amount of money spent on repairs, but confirmed it was more than $50 million.

East Deer Commissioner Anthony Tagliani praised the news of the brewery’s production status.

“We are very excited and determined to help them in any way we can,” Tagliani said. “They are a real asset to the entire Alle-Kiski Valley.”

Tagliani dismissed concerns that the large facility would employ fewer than 60 people.

“The brewery is state-of-the-art and it’s the time,” Tagliani said. “Right from the start they told us there would be maybe a maximum of 60 employees.”

East Deer can expect a profit from the brewery, as all water used for production is purchased by the municipality. This revenue was lost when the glass factory went out of business.

Last month, the brewery used about 1 million gallons of water, resulting in about a $12,000 water bill, Tagliani said.

Joyce Hantz is a Tribune-Review contributor. You can contact Joyce by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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