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Brew-pub confusion

Annoyance at the opening of the North County Brew Pub in Slippery Rock, PA dominated Danny’s classifieds through early 2002. He was a harsh critic of the business, and not its only critic. From this letter to the editor by one of the Pub founders, readers may get a sense of just how deep the non-Danny opposition to this little microbrewery ran…

 

Brew-pub confusion

In 1997, Jodi Branem and I scouted through every commercial building in the town of Slippery Rock. To many of us, it seems as if the only time Main Street is bustling with life is on graduation day at Slippery Rock University, or any other day of the week when we witness families lined up on Main Street to turn west, heading for Interstate 79.

The only traffic problem we’ve noticed is that people can’t get out of town quickly enough.

We began renovating our building immediately, working full time while gutting 10,000 square feet.

We went to every town meeting that time would permit and continued to collect recipes and plan as we listened to the Slippery Rock community say, “We want the choice of a glass of wine or beer with dinner.”

This was two years before redevelopment was mentioned. And now more then ever, Slippery Rock has the potential to become the picturesque town we’ve all dreamed of.

When the borough residents voted the town “wet”, we didn’t immediately post our orange PLCB placard. We first launched our website, www.northcountrybrewing.com, so that any misconceptions could be answered in an open forum.

We also had renderings drawn up to provide a visual of the atmosphere we wanted to create. We have many community-oriented events planned as well as Christian bands booked two Sundays a month.

We didn’t have any hidden agenda by booking these bands. We thought it would be something that everyone would appreciate on Sunday afternoons after church.

We were puzzled by the protests of United Methodist church and tried to meet with church leadership twice.

However, six months later, we received a letter from the church that asks that “we reconsider this business venture and find a business more in tune with your own stated high moral and religious values.” Somehow handcrafted ales and sodas led to, “. . .we are against alcohol and other drugs.”

These distorted views of what we are planning have grown to the point where our differences need to be resolved in public.

For that, Jodi and I are truly sorry. We wish that our neighbors would have been more direct in relaying their concerns to us early on so that we could have met as friends and worked out the bumps before we hit them at full speed. If anyone had ever talked with us, we could have presented the parking solutions that we have planned.

We envision North Country Brewing as a unique business that doesn’t compete with any other business in Slippery Rock or in the area.

We’re talking about the choice of hand-crafted sodas, ales and awardwinning Pennsylvania wines with dinner, not “alcohol and other drugs”.

Again, to the congregation of the United Methodist Church, we are truly sorry, and we extend an open invitation to meet with you.

Bob McCafferty
North Country Brewing Company
Slippery Rock

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