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October 27, 2020
Fresh Face: Isaac’s Brewhouse
Isaac’s has made the jump to craft beer.
The South Central Pennsylvania restaurant chain has been in the process of renovating its 25 North Queen Street location as part of an ambitious rebranding strategy. The Isaac’s Downtown Bar & Grill will be renamed Isaac’s Brewhouse and will feature a full-fledged brewery. It plans on converting nine of its thirteen restaurants into breweries within the next three years. The Mechanicsburg location will be the next one to be upgraded due to its functioning bar.
Mike Weaver, President and CEO of Isaac’s, sees this venture as an exciting growth opportunity. “We just want to get really good at what we do,” he says. “We’re going to brew great beer like we make great soups and sandwiches.”
Many of Isaac’s products over the years have been the result of employees’ creative brainstorming. Weaver noticed an interest in employees wanting to make beer. And with handcrafted beer and sandwiches already a natural fit, the company also expanded its focus to other pairing staples such as French fries and chicken wings.
Johnny Roberts, Isaac’s marketing coordinator (and porter aficionado), has taken a special interest in beer. Figuring out the marketability of craft beer and coupling it with Isaac’s evolving menu fostered an enthusiasm for brewing, which led to his completion of a 38week brewing science program at Harrisburg Area Community College, followed by an internship at Moo Duck Brewery.
“Breweries are a gathering place for members of the community,” says Roberts. “Social impact is very important and the sharing of brewing traditions is incorporated into the fabric of America.”
Aside from beer, Isaac’s Brewhouse will offer other alcoholic beverages, such as hard seltzer and wine, from makers that are exclusive to Pennsylvania.
While the timing of the brand shift has been affected by the pandemic, Weaver isn’t discouraged. Instead, he refers to Isaac’s expansion as an oasis for these troubling times. “We’ve continued to brew beer during COVID-19,” he says. “We’ve been coming up with names to embody the American spirit. We need a community. We need a place to socialize. And we continue to brew to be ready for that return to normalcy.”
Visit their location on 25 North Queen Lancaster, or visit their website for more information.