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Verona officials pass ordinance regulating brew pubs and breweries

Michael DiVittorio
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Two new breweries and a cider house under construction in Verona have prompted borough officials to enact brew pub restrictions.

“We wanted to have something on record so we can manage any additional ones,” Borough Manager Jerry Kenna said. “We hope that it attracts people to come into Verona, which will then, in turn, attract other businesses and get other businesses to open up.”

The new ordinance, which mimics state regulations, was unanimously passed by council Jan. 8.

It limits brew pubs or breweries to Verona’s commercial district, along Allegheny River Boulevard, East Railroad and Wildwood avenues.

The businesses must have at least one parking space per 200 square feet, and they must offer at least snacks. Minimum food requirements include potato chips, pretzels and similar items.

It also stipulates a brewery must have seating for at least 10 customers, while a brew pub must have seating for at least 25 people.

“I think it’s fair for everybody,” Mayor Dave Ricupero said.

The ordinance is available for review at the borough office, 736 E. Railroad Ave.

The three businesses currently being developed have been grandfathered in, meaning the ordinance would not apply to them.

They are Stonewall Cider House and Meadery at 723 Allegheny River Blvd., Inner Groove Brewing at 751 E. Railroad Ave. and Acclamation Brewing, formerly Knurd Brewing, at 555 Wildwood Ave. next to the Pittsburgh Pickle Co.

“I’m very excited for all three of them to come in,” Ricupero said. “I think it’s a good opportunity for growth not only in Verona, but in the region. We have bars like every other community, but this is something new that’s coming in. Residents are excited for this. It brings a new group of people in town, young and old, rather than the plain old bar scene.”

Joshua Niese and Artilio Campisano, both of Pittsburgh’s Stanton Heights neighborhood, own and operate Stonewall Cider.

Its location is a former barbershop and is expected to open sometime in early March. The other two are also expected to open this year.

Niese, a Realtor by trade, said he and his investment partner chose to start a business in Verona after much research.

“It’s on the main drag,” he said about the location. “There are fewer and fewer main streets available. This one was less than filled to capacity two years ago. The price point to get into this neighborhood was reasonable, and all the neighbors have been great.”

Niese said breweries should not any issues with the borough’s new ordinance if it enforces regulations already required by the state.

“They’re just looking out for us,” he said “You ether work with the system and do your best, or you don’t.”

Stonewall does not have a full kitchen. It plans to offer small plates such as cheese trays and appetizers to go along with its craft ciders, meads and other beverages from Pennsylvania manufacturers.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.