Ohio Brewery News
Friday Six Pack with Aspasia Lyras Bernacki, Penguin City Brewing Company
Every Friday, we ask an Ohio craft brewery owner or employee to answer six questions about their path to the brewing industry, what sets their brewery apart and their thoughts on craft beer in Ohio.
Today we’ll chat with Aspasia Lyras Bernacki, co-owner of Penguin City Brewing Company in Youngstown.
What made you decide to get into the craft brewing industry?
My husband and I got into the industry after both wanting career changes. He is a beer connoisseur and I have a marketing background and have also worked in the bar industry. We both wanted to do something together while promoting our city of Youngstown, Ohio. This was a perfect fit for us.
Which of your beers do your customers enjoy the most and why?
Our flagship, Penguin City Beer, a crisp golden ale, is our top selling beer. We created this beer to represent the pride, history and people of our valley.
Did you find that building the Penguin City brand primarily around a single flagship beer was more of a challenge in a craft beer market that emphasizes variety?
It was a challenge, it still is, but we wanted to remain true to the original mission. I’m always impressed when I see a beer consistently on the shelf and strive for that. I love the challenge of working to keep our one product fresh and new. We pushed our flagship hard for two years, then when we felt we were in a good spot in our market, we released a second year round and a seasonal.
What should a craft beer fan expect when visiting your brewery for the first time?
Our new facility will open this spring of 2022 and it’s a 32,000 square foot warehouse that was formerly a part of the steel industry. This warehouse has sat vacant for years and we are bringing it back to life and creating a new district in our city. There will be a taproom, brewing facility and event center.
Besides your own, what Ohio craft breweries impress you the most and why?
I am on the branding side of the business, which is equally as important as brewing beer. So I’m always impressed by the breweries with solid branding. Some of my favorites are Rhinegeist, Great Lakes, Market Garden and Jackie O’s.
Where do you think craft beer is headed? What do you think craft beer will look like five years from now?
We are in an interesting time in the craft brewing industry. Right now I’m seeing NA’s and lighter beers starting to trend, which is very interesting to me. The seltzer boom proved that majority drinkers are looking for lo cal options. I think a lot of people are becoming more health conscious so that is something I think we’ll shift towards.