Victory Brewing Company Spreads Their Wings West

Second location in West Sadsbury and one in the works in Kennett Square solidify brewery’s popularity.

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Victory Brewing Company cofounders Bill Covaleski (left) and Ron Barchet at their new location. Photo by Jared Castaldi

A little more than two years ago, two men walked unannounced into the West Sadsbury Township building. Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet had a question: How would the small, semi-rural Chester County community feel about hosting Victory Brewing Company’s latest venture. “I just about jumped across the table and kissed the two of them,” recalls Frank Haas, chairman of the township’s board of supervisors.

Friends since fifth grade, Covaleski and Barchet have overseen the Downingtown microbrewery’s unlikely success story. Back in 1985, just out of college, Covaleski began tinkering with his dad’s home-brewing equipment. That same year, he gave Barchet his own kit for Christmas, and things snowballed from there. Ditching their corporate jobs, they dove into the suds industry, working for Baltimore Brewing Company and Virginia’s Old Dominion before officially opening Victory on Feb. 15, 1996.

Eighteen years later to the month, they begin full-scale production at their newest brewery. On a national level, the awards continue to pile up, including 2013 Grand Champion honors in the United States Beer Tasting Championship for Victory’s Headwaters Pale Ale and Prima Pils.

Rest assured, attracting Victory wasn’t on the minds of the township when it set aside land for an industrial zone, but the results certainly paid off. “It’s a unique place. You have industrial land interspersed with preserved farms,” Haas says. “I intend to promote Victory to the best of my ability, because it will be a tremendous draw.”

The decision to expand wasn’t a hasty one for Victory, even if the need to do so did come relatively quickly. “In 2011, we had off-the-charts growth,” says Covaleski, brewmaster and president. “In 2011, rather than being at 22 percent growth, we had 41 percent.”