On the foot of Southside’s iconic clock sits an enormous, unremarkable constructing that used to accommodate Duquesne Brewing’s packaging plant. The constructing is now house to a climbing health club and what is going to quickly be one of many largest breweries in Pittsburgh, Velum Fermentation (pronounced “VELL-um”).
“Largest” is true in two senses: the constructing itself is very large. Velum’s Part 2 taproom alone will clock in at 15,000 sq. toes. The constructing has three addresses and spans most of a block close to UPMC Mercy Southside and Brew Home Affiliation. However Velum can be set to be among the many metropolis’s largest breweries by quantity. With the flexibility to crank out 30+ barrels (930 gallons) of suds per day on a shiny system that is powered by a 60-horsepower boiler, the household behind Velum is leaping straight into the deep finish in Pittsburgh’s burgeoning craft beer scene.
“I joined the trade to start out a brewery again a decade in the past,” says Nate McLaughlin, CEO and head brewer. McLaughlin just isn’t an trade newcomer. Initially hailing from Franklin, PA, he is been brewing for over a decade and hung out at Bend, Oregon’s venerable Deschutes Brewing earlier than launching Pitt Avenue Brewing Firm in Greenville, NC. “It was time to return house and begin a brewery,” he says. “So I got here up right here and began on the lookout for buildings.” Beginning massive, he says, will make for a extra environment friendly workflow and permit Velum to start distribution straight away in addition to diversify the newcomers’ income streams.
Velum’s COO, Jenna McLaughlin (Nate’s sister-in-law), additionally brings in depth expertise within the service trade to Velum and has massive ambitions for the outfit. “I got here into the mission two years in the past,” Jenna says. She has meals science expertise and plans to ultimately add an R&D house the place Velum can experiment with fermented meals. She’s additionally been hands-on with development, turning the metal transport materials from the brewery’s vats into the Part I taprooms tables and cubicles. “We’re excited to fulfill extra of the brewing neighborhood,” she says, noting Pittsburgh’s collaborative craft beer scene.
“Our identify is Velum Fermentation as a result of we’re not simply going to be a brewery,” Nate says. “We’re gonna do kombucha, we’re gonna do seltzer, we’re gonna do non-alcoholic.” They plan to launch with a cross-section of the beer spectrum, together with a porter, hazy IPA, fruited bitter and session pale ale when the brewery begins pouring pints later this 12 months.
That the house is so giant brings many advantages. The McLaughlins plan so as to add arcade video games and have already bought a number of secondhand skee-ball units for his or her eventual Part II enlargement. A lot of Velum’s start-up funding went into sustaining the house throughout a yearlong COVID freeze, although Nate additionally efficiently utilized for an SBA mortgage. After ready out COVID, they’re soliciting neighborhood traders by means of a Honeycomb Credit score fundraiser. Locals have already steered round $60,000 Velum’s means.
“The good thing about that [for investors] is you get to be a part of the brewery and part-owner of the brewery,” Nate says. He and Jenna plan on providing perks, together with potential enter on beer recipes, to early traders. Traders in Velum will “have the chance to assist information our journey with significant involvement and options.”
The McLaughlins need their brewery to be community-centric. Along with sustaining a robust relationship with their upstairs neighbors, ASCEND Climbing, they’re planning a wide range of Southside collaborations with Brew Home Affiliation and different native artists—Nate and Jenna each think about artwork installations when their Part II plans are realized—and have been speaking intently with SSCC since day one. Additionally they have a small assortment of Duquesne Brewing ephemera they will show in a shadowbox. Sooner or later, Nate says, they may even resurrect defunct Duquesne merchandise (with permission, after all).
He notes Southside’s ongoing vibrancy and hopes Velum can turn out to be an space gathering spot. Climbers from ASCEND, he says, provide an amazing built-in buyer base. They’re excited to attach extra intently with their neighbors there and elsewhere within the Flats.
“I constructed this so I can meet cool folks,” Nate says.