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August 21, 2005 - Manayunk Brewer Purchases Valley Forge Brewhouse
Chris Firey, head brewer at Manayunk Brewing Company, purchased the brewhouse of Valley Forge Brewing Company at auction on August 17, paying $25,000 for the 10 bbl. system which has a capability of approximately 1400 bbls. per year.

In a second deal, Firey then sold Valley Forge's eight bright beer tanks to Mark Edelson of Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant for cash and two older bright tanks which Iron Hill has in storage. "Mark came to the auction prepared to buy the brewhouse," says Firey, "but he was nice enough not to bid against me, once I topped the Proxy bid of $24,500. He wanted the tanks for their new Phoenixville pub and I was more than happy to work with him in an arrangement that helped both of us. Mark's one of the most supportive guys in the local brewing community and he even offered me four Iron Hill guys for two days to help me get things moved."

Firey has been at Manayunk since February 2004, following a two-year stint at Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown. He eventually plans to use the Valley Forge equipment "to market a few brands under the trade name Synergy Brewing, but mostly to do custom beers for restaurants, bars, and clubs, or anyone who can sell 20 kegs in three months or so.It's a plan I have had for years and I think the timing and location is right. For now, we're putting the brewery in storage until a proper site is found, somewhere between Collegeville and Philadelphia."

He has already informally discussed making custom beers for several potential buyers, Firey acknowledges. "Nothing formal or legally binding, more a 'if you decide to do this, then we might well decide to do this' sort of thing. I think there's a good market out there for the concept; several bars and restaurants in the area already have their own brands or special anniversary beers brewed for them by local breweries." He added that he is currently researching the feasibility of making a canning line part of his new plant.

Firey went to the auction accompanied by Manayunk general manager Mike Rose. "We were there to maybe pick up some hoses, clamps or whatever," the brewer laughs. "You should have seen his face when I bid on the `entire contents of brewery.' Mike has known about my plans for Synergy for a long time, I've tossed the concept around with him many times, but he had no idea I was going to bid. Everybody at Manayunk knew I had this ultimate plan and I'll be working toward getting Synergy up and running over the course of the next year while also making sure that I do whatever is needed to make sure Manayunk is in good hands when I leave."

Valley Forge, the first modern era brewpub in the Philadelphia suburbs, closed this past May, just a few months past its 10th anniversary.