Again Alley Brewing Co. could have a premiere in Dormont

A group of friends created a lot of beer behind one of their houses. This place inspired a company.

Back Alley Brewing Co. is slated to open in late spring / early summer.

It will be the first brewery in Dormont.

Four of the five owners live there and a fifth is nearby. Patrick McKinley and his wife Patricia worked with Dormont’s roommates Jacob Maxwell and Lee Sifford on this venture. Her friend Cody Hoellerman comes from Brookline in Pittsburgh.

“The back alley is our test kitchen,” said Hoellerman. “There we come up with new recipes. We do what we like to do. That’s the key. Do what you love “

Courtesy Brian Michael Schuler

Friends (from front left) Lee Sifford, Cody Hoellerman, Jacob Maxwell, and Patrick and Patricia McKinley sit on the steps of their Back Alley Brewing Co. in Dormont.

However, they do need help to do what they love.

The group realized there was no brewery in the area so this was a perfect place. They started by planning what jobs to do and what equipment to buy.

They applied for money last February and March, but no bank would give them a loan.

You found another way to raise money.

Companies like Back Alley can launch a fundraising campaign through Honeycomb Credit, a company founded in Pittsburgh through AlphaLab in 2017.

People can give any amount and will be paid back with interest in 60 months (five years). The interest rate is 9.75%.

The goal for Back Alley Brewing is $ 200,000. As of Tuesday evening, they raised $ 139,400.

There are still 15 days left for the fundraiser. You can invest here.

They raised enough money to pay for their lease on the former Dormont Borough Building, which was built in 1919. The other money will be used to prepare the back room, which once housed fire engines, for brewing beer.

The front area will be converted into a taproom based on coronavirus rules for bars and restaurants, Hoellerman said. You want a full kitchen after all, said Hoellerman. On the upper floor there are two large rooms that can be used as private event rooms.


Courtesy Brian Michael Schuler

Brookline’s Cody Hoellerman poses in one of the prison cells of the former Dormont Borough Building, which will eventually be home to Back Alley Brewing Co.

A vault and some prison cells give it a unique touch.

“Having these adds to the charm of the building,” said Hoellerman. “It’s perfect for what we want. It has high ceilings and lots of natural light. And lots of space. “

Patrick McKinley said the plan is to have six to twelve ales, lagers, and ciders – some on tap for growers and others in six-packs. The number will be determined based on what happens because of the pandemic, Hoellerman said.

He said there is a lot of room for social distancing and they hope to use some of the room for live music in a few years.

The brewery is being fitted with a canning line so it can sell six-packs.

“We brewed beer behind my house for a long time,” said Patrick McKinley. “So it will be nice to have your own room to brew the beer.”

He and Sifford met in college and brewed beer there. The engineering majors also founded the first Triangle Brotherhood in Penn State Behrend.

The owners found out about Honeycomb when Lee, a musician, posted on Facebook that he was looking for a drummer. Chip Homer saw the post and contacted Lee. The two started talking and working together on music.

Lee told Homer about the brewery and the need for entry fees; Homer is the Director of Growth at Honeyomb.

Honeycomb makes money with what is called a success fee, a percentage of the business. The money is paid back to investors quarterly, Homer said.

“So I put you in touch with the right people,” Homer said. “They went really well with Honeycomb and their campaign is going well.

“You saw on social media that people really want a brewery in Dormont. It’s a walkable neighborhood. And the support is a confirmation for them. People love that they can run to have a beer. “

From the side street.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a contributor to the Tribune Review. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062,, or on Twitter.

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