Penguin City Brewing Co. co-owners Aspasia Lyras Bernacki and brewer Richard Bernacki inside Republic’s old downtown warehouse, the company is in the process of renovating to become its new production facility and its new tap room. On Wednesday, they and others broke the start of the work which should start this week.

YOUNGSTOWN – The transformation of the former Republic warehouse into a production facility and reception hall for Penguin City Brewing Co. is set to begin this week with interior demolition work and clean-up of the industrial building.

Next week, exterior work should begin with painting.

The workforce marks the physical start of a planned $ 3.7 million investment in the downtown east side that began about a year ago with the acquisition of the 32,000 space square feet by the famous local brewery.

On Wednesday, the owners and their guests celebrated the start of renovations by toasting the building.

“I’m just a little relieved that we finally have everything together,” said Aspasia Lyras Bernacki, co-owner of Penguin City. “We started this project last year around this time, so it was a lot of planning, designing and trying to get the funding secured.”

The transformation will take place in phases. The first is a 10,000 square foot valve room and a 10,000 square foot brewhouse scheduled to open by the end of December. A banquet hall is another phase. It is expected to be completed by September 2022. A restaurant is also planned, but before that, Penguin City plans to bring in food trucks.

“The end goal is that we will have a nice tasting room, a bar / restaurant to occupy this lower level inside the building… the upper level will be the brewery, where we will do all our brewing, production, canning . Part of that will also be an event hub, ”said Penguin City co-owner and brewer Richard Bernacki.

Penguin City is also renovating a 5,000 square foot office and an additional 1,000 square feet of production space and a tap room for Hannah Ferguson for her DOPE Cider House & Winery.

A. Neider Architecture in Youngstown is the architect. Murphy Contracting, also in Youngstown, is the general contractor.

The work will marry a metal / industrial aesthetic with modern security and other features to take the space from a drab warehouse to chic with undertones of the Youngstown industrial feel.

“The potential is amazing because the look and feel from day one, we want to look like Youngstown. And what does Youngstown look like? It still looks like mills. They want that blue collar effect, that look, that aesthetic,” he said. said Annissa K. Neider, Owner, A. Neider Architecture. “Being able to modernize it, I don’t have to worry about cleaning and making it look brand new. I’m almost trying to get old. things to make them look older.

Penguin City purchased the warehouse, 460 E. Federal St., for $ 575,000 in December. The company announced in May that it had entered into a loan of $ 2.2 million for the valve room and brewery.

Also around April, the company began distribution to five counties in western Pennsylvania. It just struck a deal to begin distribution in West Virginia that would begin in October.

“So we move to another state and then once we get out of that facility we’re able to go all over the state of Ohio. We are working on this agreement right now, ”said Aspasia Lyras Bernacki.

The property was first developed in 1884 as a stable, salon, wagon workshop and lumber yard. It has been a hotel, restaurant, pool hall, smithy, confectionery, steel and iron makers, and steel warehouse throughout its years, according to Penguin City.

“This area, I have walked through it a million times before and seen this building and I never really imagined that this would be my building and that I would have my brewery here,” said Richard Bernacki. “It’s a great honor, exciting, empowering, but we’re ready for it.”

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