BY KATIE MAHONEY | VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS
In 2011, South County Brewing Company began in a small pole building tucked away in Fawn Grove, PA. JR Heaps was a homebrewer who took a classic leap of faith after the 2008-2009 financial crisis and has built a strong following with his vision and hard work. “Back then failure wasn’t an option. I never really thought about it not working because I was so intrigued with brewing and committed to becoming successful at the craft,” says JR. What started as brewing on a very small hand-built system and literally selling bottles out of his truck has now grown into an over decade long business with a loyal retail base and over 120 existing tavern customers (with a lengthy waitlist). The company now has two locations including a newly opened flagship production/taproom facility on 13 acres in York Township.
“A lot of small start-up breweries have the problem of trying to sell their beer, South County quickly had the problem of not making enough beer,” shares now co-owner of South County Brewing Company, Sam Terroso.
Sam and his wife Kellee took an ownership role in South County Brewing Company in early 2020. “The company developed a following – great beer coupled with unique labels and culture. JR, his wife Jen and his previous business partners developed a great base in Fawn Grove but the brand needed a much larger platform,” shares Sam. “Kurt Kay was one of those key partners and also one of my best friends. Unfortunately, Kurt passed away May 2019 which triggered a company structure change. Kellee and I brought different entrepreneurial aspects to the company.”
South County Brewing Company prides themselves on the quality of their product, and the scaling of the beer to meet the demand. “We installed an automated process including a 30 bbl Schulz Brewhouse. Schulz is the oldest manufacturer of brewing equipment in the world and is still family owned after 350 years. We are proud and honored to be using their technology to make our recipes even more refined.”
This level of commitment in the brew process has now carried into the dining customer experience at the York Township location. The scratch kitchen and South County’s own bakery department offer a consistently excellent pub style menu featuring artisan pizza, sandwiches, and select entrees. The beverage options will eventually include a total of 24 South County beers on tap, plus a fine selection of PA based wines and robust cocktail menu. The building boasts a large dining hall with a full experience loft. The custom build out includes three massive fireplaces, authentic timber frame structure, outdoor patio with (future) fire pits, private event space, and ample parking.
The York County Economic Alliance proudly supported South County Brewing Company as they worked through the pandemic to align funding, conducted market research and developed business plans.
“Traditions Bank and YCEA believed it in from the beginning. Everyone knew it was a risk during the Covid shutdowns but we plowed ahead and here we are,” adds Sam. “I’ve done a lot of challenging things in business,” he says with a smile. “This is far and away the most complex undertaking of our life. I am extremely proud of our team and the dedication it required to achieve this vision turned reality.”
“We facilitated a loan product that will provide long-term, fixed-rate financing for up to 40% of the project which will enhance cash flow,” explained Kenetha Hansen, YCEA’s Director, Economic Development & Financing. “This is a great showcase of the partnership with EDC Finance Corporation and Traditions Bank to deliver the US Small Business Administration’s 504 loan for South County Brewing Company.”
NEXT UP FOR SOUTH COUNTY BREWING COMPANY:
The outdoor bar and patio areas are now open!
The Virgil Room (private event space and performance hall for up to 125 guests) is slated to open later in Summer of 2022.
Distilling: Vendome distilling equipment, the same used by companies like Buffalo Trace & other Kentucky houses, is set to arrive in June 2022. South County plans to immediately begin production with an aging commitment to the spirits so that their quality matches that of the brewhouse products.
A True Sour: The development of a separate isolated foeder tank area to allow wild yeast sours to ferment over multiple months to produce large format bottles.
Fawn Grove: The taproom is still open! Plans to develop & remodel event space in 2023.
170 Crossway Drive, York PA 17402
Fawn Grove Tap Room: 104 Mill Street, Fawn Grove PA 17321