Sly Fox Brewing is kicking off its growth plans today with a soft opening party for the contractors that helped bring together the brewery’s location in the Knitting Mills in Wyomissing.
The Pottstown-based microbrewer is opening its newest and third taproom in the redevelopment project, which is on the site of the former VF Factory Outlets.
The third location is the first of four new taprooms Sly Fox has in the works. It also has plans for Malvern, Chester County, and the Pittsburgh area.
“This is really three down, three to go,” said Randy McKinley, general manager of Sly Fox.
McKinley said the company, which launched in 1995, had been looking to expand into other states, but found it was expensive and time consuming. There also there was heavy competition from other regional and national microbrewers.
So Sly Fox reversed course and decided instead that it would grow locally, focusing on becoming an integral part of the neighborhoods surrounding its taprooms.
“This is the first of our new community footprint strategy where we’re planting the seed, cultivating the market and the seeing the rewards of the work we put into it,” he said.
McKinley said Knitting Mills is the perfect location for a new taproom. It sits amid many offices, with UGI and Tower Health both having a large number of employees nearby. There are also a number of residential communities nearby, and activities put on by West Reading business groups draw large crowds to the nearby Penn Avenue arts district.
Unlike Sly Fox’s locations in Phoenixville and Pottstown, McKinley expects Knitting Mills will face higher expectations for food because of the office workers that could be coming in for lunch.
“We’re known for our bar food. We have great pizza and wings,” he said. “But I think the consumers are going to look at this to be more of a traditional restaurant.”
That will mean a more extensive menu with more option.
The new taproom will also serve wine and spirits made by other Pennsylvania companies – in addition to Sly Fox’s own beer.
Today’s activities are the first in a series of events leading up to the taproom’s official grand opening on Sunday, including a sneak preview for the public from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.