Craft brewing business under consideration for Catasauqua
At Catasauqua Borough Council’s workshop session June 26, Anette and Fred Pompa talked about their proposal for a small craft brewing company. The zoning hearing board has approved their concept for Lehigh Street.
Craft brewing is one of the targeted businesses the borough spotlighted with changes to the zoning regulations for the Iron Works project and the downtown business district.
In the borough’s zealousness to regulate, the ordinance for craft brewing was written to allow craft brewers to sell only products they produced. The borough wanted a brew house, not another bar.
State laws followed the same restrictions originally, but the state lifted its restrictions last year.
New laws allow a craft brewer to sell their products along with other Pennsylvania craft-brewed products.
The borough must now incorporate changes into local ordinances. An approval could be 90 to 120 days out.
Pompa’s business model envisions a tasting room with purchases available for customers. Mike Lessa, the head brewer, indicated the brewing operation would be small, adding craft brews from other producers makes the business economically feasible.
Borough Manager Eugene Goldfeder clarified the definition of craft-brewed.
“The beer doesn’t need to be made on site. It can be brewed anywhere, but it must be your brewery,” he said to the Pompas.
A casual observation indicated there is no significant opposition to the concept.
Councilwoman Jessica Kroope asked if the process could be advanced to approve the project faster.
“What they have is an approval to sell their craft-brewed products,” Goldfeder said. “They can move ahead to get the tasting room ready and any other improvements they need. In the interim, we can get the ordinance changes ready.”