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Ruckus Brewery eyes Neuweiler location

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 03 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 04 2013 07:02:00 PM CST

A new beginning is on tap for Allentown's Neuweiler Brewery. A New York based brewing company has agreed to buy and renovate the rundown, riverfront staple.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

A new beginning is on tap for Allentown's Neuweiler Brewery. A New York based brewing company has agreed to buy and renovate the rundown, riverfront staple.

A former Lehigh University grad is leading the charge. Ruckus Brewery out of New York City says plans are to have Neuweiler open again and brewing beer by 2014.

There was a time when the beer business in Allentown was booming.

"By the 1900's there were 13 brewers right in Allentown area," Jill Youngken of the Lehigh County Historical Society.

With time Neuweiler's facade faded, windows turned black, and the luster lost.

But new life is on tap for the North Front Street building, vacant since 1968.

"Made a lot of business sense from the standpoint of getting a facility together," Josh Wood of Ruckus Brewery said.

New York-based Ruckus Brewery, which contracts out its recipes, including Reading Premium beer, to other facilities, has agreed to buy the building to brew its beer. Essentially making the Neuweiler structure new again.

"Fifty percent of building is slated to be a brewery type of operation. Either for Ruckus Brewing or indirectly for other brewers," Wood says.

Lehigh Grad Josh Wood of Ruckus Brewery says the $33 million renovation will also include business and industrial space, to go along with the micro brewery, brew pub and experience center.

"A lot of beer roads in Pennsylvania. It has a rich brewing tradition and we'd like to be a part of that," Wood said.

Ruckus would be in the middle of a massive Queen City renaissance which includes several redevelopment projects along the water front and in downtown, headed by the impending Hockey Arena.
Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski attributes it all to the tax friendly-127 acre downtown NIZ zone.

"Another step in the right direction and showing folks things are turning the corner in Allentown," Pawlowski said.

Wood did admit that NIZ zone was the main attraction for them. They have 60 days to finalize the deal with the city.

If all goes according to plan they hope to open in 2014.