After nearly a decade in business, one Boston-based brewery is betting big on Philadelphia.
Night Shift Brewing plans to open a 130,000-square-foot, $10 million production facility, taproom, and distributorship in Roxborough by the end of 2020, cofounder Rob Burns, a Bucks County native, told the Inquirer. Once it opens, the facility will serve as the brewery’s first outpost outside of Massachusetts, as well as its largest (and most expensive) location yet.
The idea, Burns said, is to create Night Shift’s “forever home.”
“That’s what we’re talking about building in Philadelphia,” he said. “Let’s build our forever home, where we have room to grow for a long time, and really plant deep roots.”
Located at 401 Domino Lane in Roxborough, the former home of Penn Beer Distributors (now in Hatfield), the planned 100-barrel brewhouse will initially enable Night Shift to produce about 30,000 additional barrels of beer annually, doubling its 2018 output. Ultimately, the facility could allow for the production of 200,000 barrels of beer.
That total would put Night Shift in the league of larger Massachusetts-based breweries like Mass Bay Brewing (parent company to Harpoon Brewery), which produced about 185,000 barrels of beer in 2018, according to the Brewers Association. Night Shift, which opened in 2012, is now Massachusetts’ seventh-largest brewery, behind companies like Wachusett, Jack’s Abby, and Lord Hobo.
“It’s definitely on the bigger end, and bigger than we ever imagined we would need,” Burns said. The original business plan, he added, was to be able to sell about 10,000 barrels of beer by 10 years in. Now, with seven years under its belt, Night Shift is approaching the 40,000-barrel mark.
Aside from the brewhouse, Night Shift’s Philly spot will also include a 3,800-square-foot taproom with seating for 300 people, a covered outdoor beer garden, and a distributorship component that will bring their products to locations throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey for the first time. Currently, Burns said, while Night Shift’s beer is available in four states, the company does not “sell a drop of beer in Pennsylvania” — a bummer for area friends and family of Burns and fellow cofounder Mike O’Mara, also a Bucks native.
“They’re always heckling us, like, ‘Come on, just send it down,’” Burns said.
Since opening in Boston, the brewery has consistently expanded, adding production facilities, beer gardens, a distributorship, a coffee roastery, and a food truck to its portfolio in the city. However, the move to Philadelphia has been a long time coming, with the company first starting their search for area real estate back in the winter of 2015.
Initial ideas included locations in Bristol, Northeast Philadelphia, the Navy Yard, and Yards’ current location on Spring Garden Street. But with the coming Roxborough location, Night Shift plans to be in Philadelphia for the long haul — and, potentially, so do some of its founders.
“Hopefully, this is the last facility we build. We want to get it right," Burns said. “At some point, probably one or two of us will probably relocate back down to Philadelphia. It’s nice to have that flexibility to return home.”